Former Pitt running back Qadree Ollison was included on the official list of NFL Scouting Combine invitees released on Thursday. However, after a season in which the Panthers made the ACC championship, Ollison was the only Pitt representative listed, with the most notable snub being running back Darrin Hall.
The news of Ollison’s combine invite was first reported by Mike Meiler of the Niagara Gazette on Jan. 17. At that time, the running back’s father, Wayne Ollison, revealed that his son had accepted the invitation and was forgoing the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl in order to nurse an ankle injury suffered in the Sun Bowl and train for the combine.
”We have to kill the combine, and that’s what we’re going to focus on,” he said.
To that end, Ollison was training at XPE Sports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when his father was interviewed, and his ankle is said to have heeled. Wayne Ollison said that his son could have participated in the all-star showcases but opted out in order to avoid further injury.
During his time at Pitt, the 6’2”, 225-pound running back led the team in rushing yards twice in four seasons. The first time was in 2015, when he amassed 1,121 yards on 212 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. The second time was in 2018, when Ollison posted the best season of his college career. As part of a thunder-and-lightning backfield duo with Hall, Ollison ran for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns on 194 attempts, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
For his part, Hall contributed 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns on 153 carries, averaging 7.5 yards per carry and making a number of explosive plays throughout the 2018 season. That marked the best effort of Hall’s college career, as he had never previously reached the 1,000-yard plateau, and he earned invitations to both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl as a result. But despite that national exposure and a decent showing in the Shrine Game, he was denied a combine invite.
With Ollison as the only Pitt product expected to attend the combine in 2019, the school’s representation is down from seven in 2018, when Quadree Henderson, Jaryd Jones-Smith, Avonte Maddox, Brian O’Neill, Jester Weah, Jordan Whitehead and Ryan Winslow all attended the event. Pitt also placed six players in the combine in 2017, and the last time it sent just one was in 2016, when Tyler Boyd was the lone Panther in attendance in Indianapolis.
The NFL combine will get underway on Feb. 26, with on-field workouts scheduled to run from March 1 to March 4. The workouts will be broadcast on the NFL Network, and Ollison and the running backs will be in the first group to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 1.