Shazier, Conner In Attendance for Pitt Pro Day

13 NFL hopefuls go through drills on South Side

Josh Rowntree
March 20, 2019 - 5:35 pm
Pitt Football Pro Day in 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

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As Pitt’s departing seniors got ready for the NFL Draft during its Pro Day, the Panthers got a little help, and support, from the pros. 

The guest appearance began early, as players were weighing in and getting measurements taken. 

“We were getting our hand measurements and I peaked up and was like ‘ is that Ryan Shazier,’” defensive back Colin Jonov said. “So that was cool to see him. He’s an inspiration to me, just everything he’s been through. Just being this close to him was really cool.”

Shazier assisted Pitt’s staff through the day, working with Steelers personnel who help run drills.

“It was awesome,” Jones added. “Words can’t describe it, honestly. It was pretty sick. Definitely a big moment, a big day.”

On top of Shazier’s help, Pitt also got support from another Steelers player, former Panthers running back James Conner.

“It was dope,” Pitt running back Qadree Ollison said. ”He’s supported me, given me little points. He helps as much as he can and I appreciate him for that. Taking time out of his day, he doesn’t have to come out here. So, for him to come out here and support me, Darrin (Hall) and George (Aston), it means a lot.”

The support of former players is something Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi appreciates, as well.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “We had Ejuan Price, Lafayette Pitts out here, as well. It’s awesome to have those guys come back, that care about their brothers. That’s the type of family atmosphere we have. Those guys are coming back to watch. James (Conner) could have been doing a lot of things, but he’s out here and waited until the end to watch his running backs go and I think that’s impressive. It’s who those kids are and why they’ve been so successful.”

While the celebrity sightings were a highlight, there also was business to be taken care of. Ollison was Pitt’s only player invited to the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month, so this may have been other players’ only chance to make an impression to the NFL scouts on hand. 

Of those players, another Pitt 1,000-yard rusher, Darrin Hall, seemingly had a positive day of drills. 

“I knew he was going to kill it,” Ollison said. “He did everything. I root for him just as much as I root for anyone else. That’s my brother. I’m excited for him.”

Ollison, meanwhile, did not participate in every drill, like the 40-yard dash. At the combine, he ran an impressive 4.58 time. He did, however, participate in some of the individual ball drills with his fellow backfield players. 

“For me, I wanted to do the short shuttle and the L-drill again,” he said. “My numbers were down in both of those categories. And just do what I did at the combine again.”

Blocking for the likes of Conner, Ollison and Hall over the years has been full back George Aston, who is hoping to catch on with an NFL team after a productive career of leading the way for talented backs.

“I think they’ve definitely helped me,” he said. “Having those great guys as running backs definitely makes me look good. Maybe I’ve made a couple of blocks to help them, as well.”

Participants for Pitt’s Pro Day included: WR Rafael Araujo-Lopes, FB George Aston, OL Alex Bookser, DL James Folston Jr., RB Darrin Hall, DL Dewayne Hendrix, OL Mike Herndon, LB Oluwaseun Idowu, DB Colin Jonov, RB Qadree Ollison, DL Shane Roy, LB Quintin Wirginis and LB Elijah Zeise.

Hear all of what Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi had to say below.