Pitt tandem sweeps ACC rookie awards

Pitt running back Qadree Ollison (37) was named the ACC Offensive Rookie of the year, while his teammate Jordan Whitehead was named the top rookie overall and the defensive rookie of the year.
Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The future looks bright for the Pitt Panthers. On Tuesday, Pitt swept the ACC rookie awards as safety Jordan Whitehead was voted the ACC Rookie of the Year and the defensive rookie of the year, while running back Qadree Ollison was named the top offensive rookie.

“Our entire program takes great pride in these well-deserved honors for Jordan and Qadree,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Even though they are freshmen, we gave them a lot of responsibility this season and they responded in outstanding fashion. Their production on the field speaks for itself. More importantly, both Jordan and Qadree grew as leaders for our team.”

The 5-11, 185-pound Whitehead racked up 99 tackles to become the first defensive player to win rookie of the year since North Carolina defensive back Dre’ Bly did it in 1996. Whitehead is just the seventh defensive player to win the award since 1974.

Whitehead received 19 votes for the overall award from ACSMA members, while Ollison placed second with nine.  Florida State defensive back Derwin James was third with six votes, one more than Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Whitehead led the balloting for defensive rookie of the year with 28 votes and was trailed by James (11) and Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (6).

Ollison, who rushed for 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns, stepped up in the absence of 2014 ACC Player of the Year James Conner, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 1.

The 6-2, 230-pound Ollison’s 1,048 yards were the seventh-most by a freshman in ACC history.

Ollison received 23 votes for offensive rookie of the year and was followed by Virginia Tech RB Travon McMillian (8) and Jackson (7).

The rookie duo helped Pitt finish the season 8-4 (6-2) to place second in the Coastal Division.