Shaky, 2 minute video of Qadree Ollison making his announcement at Canisius High in Buffalo? Sure.
On Friday (Insider subs)…
The recruiting rivalry is not as intense as some of those down in Florida or the SEC, but Penn State and Pittsburgh are often going head-to-head for prospects. The two are going at it once more for a three-star running back.
Qadree Ollison (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius) is deciding 3:15 p.m. on Monday at his high school after taking visits to Penn State and Pitt this week. He took in Pitt on an official visit earlier this week for the Florida State game, and he will visit Penn State beginning on Friday.
At this juncture, it looks like the Nittany Lions will be on the receiving end of Ollison’s verbal commitment…
Penn State is a school Ollison has been high on all along, and he was at the Lions’ spring game despite not having an offer at the time. He also hastily put together a visit to Penn State for this coming weekend. Penn State has mined Canisius before, too, as offensive lineman John Urschel is from the school.
There are a few factors in Pitt’s corner, however. The atmosphere at Heinz Field was, as one high school coach put it, “like a Steelers game.” The crowd support has often been criticized by recruits and opposing coaches. The Panthers also have an opening at running back following Rushel Shell’s exit.
Ollison’s decision will become public Monday, but it is hard to see him picking a school other than Penn State.
After careful thought, Qadree Ollison has announced his commitment to continue his football and academic career at PITTSBURGH!
— Canisius HS Football (@CanisiusHSFB) September 9, 2013
So, a nice way to start the week.
I know, I know. College football starts in less than a week. In nine days Pitt’s season begins. But yesterday was a rather busy day for basketball stuff so it’s time to put it out there along with some other things in the tabs.
In player news, Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall got NCAA clearance for immediate eligibility at Pitt. This was considered a mere formality since other Rutgers transfershad already been granted immediate eligibility.
“It obviously gives us a big body, an experienced guy,” Dixon said. “We thought he could be a really valuable addition, especially after losing a guy in March.”
With center Steven Adams in NBA, Pitt planned to use power forward Talib Zanna, a 6-9 senior, in the post. Randall, a center or power forward, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore.
“He didn’t put up big numbers, but I think he has some strength,” Dixon said. “He could be very good defensively, and he could be a very good rebounder. It gives us flexibility. It gives us the possibility of having five big guys and the versatility to go small or big.”
Randall is 6-8, 250 pounds. No one is expecting him to be a huge difference maker, but a good role player. He gives Pitt some needed depth inside for the next two years. Randall is a low-risk, moderate-reward pick-up.
Yeah, yeah. Football is just about upon us. I’m sure many of you slogged through at least a quarter of exhibition NFL football last night. Simply because: FOOTBALL!
Still there is the unresolved Sheldon Jeter saga. When last we left our hero, his appeal for release from Vanderbilt to go to Pitt was denied by Vanderbilt. Since then, nothing.
There have been no words on his plans. Will he enroll at another Pittsburgh school? Robert Morris? Duquesne? Will he go somewhere in Ohio West Virginia, where he can get home in under 3 hours? Kent St.? Marshall?
Rori Blair, a DE from Upper Saint Clair, announced that he has given his verbal commitment to Pitt today. Blair is not properly rated by the recruiting services because he did not play his senior year and was granted an extra year to finish high school. He’s a very unique person and player. The reason?
Kept meaning to note that Daeysean Rippy has decided to transfer to Colorado. He may never be heard from again, but it’s a good choice if you want to get out on the field because there just isn’t much talent already in place to stand in front of you. Good luck.
Also, Chavas Rawlins. The one time WVU early enrollee who decided to transfer after realizing he would never get a chance to play QB there, because WVU like every where else really wanted him on defense. While he was apparently desirous of going to Pitt, it didn’t happen. Whether because WVU blocked him or because Pitt also would only take him as a defensive back it isn’t clear.
But he finally found a program that will let him play QB: Duquesne.
There’s an article today about Pitt’s most recent QB commit, Wade Freebeck. Primarily how, for his senior season, he will be playing at a new school that is a notable step-up in power.
What Pitt coaches are eager to see is how Freebeck responds to the dramatic upgrade in competition this season. Freebeck transferred from Western High School to St. Thomas in Ft. Lauderdale after last season.
“He needs to have this year under his belt to gain experience at the highest level,” said Congemi, who quarterbacked St. Thomas’ first undefeated team in the early 1980s.
St. Thomas won its seventh state championship last season in Florida’s second-highest classification. It is No. 16 in MaxPreps’ preseason national rankings and has scheduled games this year at two NFL venues. The first will be against Miami Northwestern at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Dolphins, before St. Thomas ventures into the Superdome in New Orleans where the opponent will be defending national champ John Curtis (La.) Christian.
“There is a lot of pressure at St. Thomas,” coach Rocco Casullo said.
Even at a lower level school, Freebeck managed to be classified a 3-star QB. So his stock could rise.
Just some of the topics in the basketball notes.
Still no official word on the full men’s basketball schedule. Typical I know, none of the major men’s basketball programs have announced a full schedule yet. And for most, not even the non-con. Instead there are the trickles. Like ESPN announcing some of their non-con tournaments. Including the Legends Classic that features Pitt at the Barclays Center:
Nov. 25: Pittsburgh vs. Texas Tech (7:30 p.m., ESPN2); Stanford vs. Houston (9:30, ESPN2)
Nov. 26: Consolation game (7 p.m., ESPN3); Championship game (9:30, ESPNU)
If this goes as hoped — and 5 of the 6 pundits ESPN listed for this think so — Pitt will play Stanford on Tuesday night for the Championship. Important because Stanford is the only other program (aside from Pitt) that will have any expectation of being an NCAA Tournament team. Not to mention being on ESPNU beats being an internet broadcast every time.
I know some other heartwarming stuff. A new recruit. I’ll get to the football side, but I have a bunch of basketball links I just want to get off the browser.
Steven Adams has been playing in Orlando in the NBA Summer League. Coach Jamie Dixon has been down there to watch him a couple times in between hitting the various AAU Tournaments. Good puff piece on Adams.
Adams understands where he is in his development, which is why he’s taken to coaching with such enthusiasm.
“Whatever they say, I’ll do because they know what’s best for me,” Adams said.
During breaks in Orlando, Adams sat next to Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant near the end of the bench. Bryant provided non-stop instruction, and Adams listened intently.
By the end of the week, Adams had begun raving about Bryant and the rest of the Thunder’s staff like a child who had just met his heroes.
“They’re legit,” Adams marveled. “They are awesome.”
For now, the Thunder wants to keep everything simple with Adams. His job is to defend, rebound, run the floor and set good screens. Adams said he is focused mostly on improving his pick-and-roll defense. Everything else, he said, is “just a bonus.”
When cutters attempted to get to their spot during summer league play, Adams instinctively would step in and give them a little nudge with his shoulder. When matched up against low-post players, Adams bodied up to them and consistently bumped them off their spots.
“That’s one of the things that we’re going to require out of Steven is that he play physical basketball,” Kalamian said. “Luckily for us, he likes to play that way.”
Not sure if that’s all instinctive. That reads like the basics he would be taught at Pitt to play in the Big East.
North Allegheny’s Elijah Zeise called the coaches this morning to inform them of his commitment. Zeise projects to WR or Safety at the next level and one of the key reasons he’s going to Pitt is the staff’s desire to start him off at WR. The 6’2 185 pound verbal is the son of Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. Paul used to be the Pitt beat writer before requesting an assignment elsewhere so there would be no image of bias from him with regards to Pitt.
A shooting guard from Alabama, playing in Indiana who originally committed to Oklahoma State? I’m not going to complain. Especially when he is a solid 4-star recruit with major hops and loves attacking the basket. This is when it works out to have those open scholarships even in July.
Detrick Mostella is by every recruiting service ranking, a 4-star talent. Rivals.com puts him as the 14th best shooting guard and 53 overall best player in 2013. 247 says 13th and 45. Scout.com is a bit lower at 21st and 84th. ESPN.com said 20th and outside of their top-100. So, yeah, a talent.
He’s also now a late addition to the Pitt 2013 recruiting class.
Florida QB Wade Freebeck announced on twitter that he’s coming to Pitt:
Freebeck visited Pitt 2 weeks ago and was a player the coaches appeared to be very interested in. All signs pointed to the interest being mutual and it came to fruition today. The 6’4″ dual threat with a 4.6 GPA is a 3 star player on Rivals and 247. However, he’s a 4 star player on ESPN. He had offers from USF, Marshall, Akron, and some school called “Florida.” It appears as if the Florida offer was taken away after Florida got a verbal from Will Grier, but it still says a lot about Freebeck’s potential that he’s a 4 star on ESPN and that Florida was highly interested.
Sorry everyone. It was my daughter’s birthday and part of her birthday wish was that I would take the weekend off from the computer. Well timed, little girl. Well timed.
As if the recruiting stuff wasn’t enough, there is the start of the basketball summer league tonight. But what the hell, let’s start the week weird with the Rushel Shell story.
Running back Rushel Shell has decided not to transfer to UCLA because he wants to remain close to his Pennsylvania home, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak on the subject.
Shell announced in April that he intended to come to UCLA. He had spent one season at Pittsburgh, where he gained 614 yards rushing.
But Shell, who has twin daughters living in Pennsylvania, decided the distance was too great. He hopes to rejoin the Pittsburgh team.
But does Pitt and Coach Paul Chryst want him back? Can they trust him? Could he play this season?
To round a crazy two days, Chryst and company added three more verbals today. These are verbals eight through ten for the class of 2014. First up is Staunton, VA DT Mike Herndon. Herndon is a 3 star prospect on Rivals, unrated by Scout, and a 2 star on 247. Most importantly, we beat out Virginia Tech for his services. Mike has had a VT offer since his sophomore year. You may see that he’s listed as an OT on the recruiting sites, but the coaches envision him as a DT and you’ll see why below.
The second verbal came from Fox Chapel LB Quintin Wirginis. He’s unrated by all of the scouting sites at the moment but that will change soon. Wirginis got his Pitt offer on Monday and it didn’t take him long to think it over. After an unofficial visit on Wednesday, he called the coaches to give them his commitment.
Last but not least, as I edited, Center/DT Connor Dintino from Wallingford, Connecticut committed. Dintino is a 3 star prospect on Rivals and 247. He had offers from UConn and Buffalo. Dintino, like many recent verbals, got his offer at a recent prospect camp. He’s a consensus top 3 player in the state of Connecticut.