Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Has The Attention Of 2021 Linebacker Prince Kollie
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Notre Dame Has Prince Kollie’s Attention

Last summer, Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett linebacker Prince Kollie didn’t hold a single scholarship offer and was just receiving interest from a handful of schools. But once Virginia offered the class of 2021 prospect in January, the floodgates opened.

“His tape has been his tape since the season ended. I think the right schools wanted to take a chance on him,” David Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley said. “All it takes is one and then everyone else comes calling. It was cool to see it unfold that way.”

Kollie, whose family moved from Liberia to the United States when he was a toddler, has amassed more than 30 scholarship offers and is one of the best linebacker recruits in the country. The old adage of football recruits being better off the field than they are on it is cliché, but it very much rings true in Kollie’s case according to his high school coach.

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Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett linebacker Prince Kollie
Kollie is a standout on both sides of the ball for Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett.

“He’s a very well-mannered young man,” Chandley said. “He gets the job done — not only on the field but in the classroom as well. He works hard; he demands a lot of himself. His work ethic has really seen an uptick in the past year and a half when colleges started calling on him.

“He was voted a team captain as a junior last season, which you don’t see a lot of. He carries himself in a very respectful manner. He’s a very humble young man and his faith is very important to him.”

Kollie is listed at 6-2, 205 pounds and is expected to play weak-side linebacker this fall, although high school football in the state of Tennessee is very much up in the air. A majority of college coaches see him playing inside the box for their respective programs, whereas some others would like for him to be more of a cover guy, such as Notre Dame’s rover position.

“He’s so versatile that a program can do multiple things with him,” Chandley explained. “You can put 20-25 pounds on him and play him inside the box or put five or 10 pounds on him and really keep his speed and let him play in space more.”

Kollie did it all for David Crockett last season, catching 68 passes for 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns, plus recording 78 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, seven passes defended, one fumble recovery and three forced fumbles on defense.

As good as he is on offense, he’s a defender all the way in college.

“He’s extremely physical and has a nose for the football,” Chandley added. “He has good sideline-to-sideline speed and just finds the football. His instincts are off the charts. I think he’s extremely versatile. He’s played three different positions for us in two years. His sophomore year [he played] more of our strong safety position — a back end player for us.

“Transitioning to his junior year, he was the guy who split the No. 2 and 3 receiver — playing to the field out in space. We had an injury to our starting linebacker during game eight, and we moved Prince inside the box to our Mike linebacker. He excelled exceptionally well with limited practice.

“It’s been really cool to watch him evolve from his sophomore year to what he is now. His instincts take over. He gets better with each and every game.”

Kollie recently narrowed his recruitment down to five schools: Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. All five schools should feel relatively good with their position in his recruitment because Kollie doesn’t plan to make any major decisions any time soon.

He’s been on a handful of recruiting visits, but hasn’t seen any of the schools in his top five.

“Prince is going to stay patient,” Chandley said. “He really wants to dive in and learn more about these schools and coaching staffs. He’s excited about that.”

The Fighting Irish offered Kollie May 17 and quickly became a top contender in his recruitment. Notre Dame defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Clark Lea has kept in close contact with Kollie and Chandley, including several Zoom video chats which often consist of a “virtual visit.”

“He’s gotten to know their coaches,” Chandley said. “Coach Lea and I have had great conversations about Notre Dame as a whole and the core values of the program and what makes Notre Dame unique. He’s made a really good pitch of Notre Dame and it sounds like a great place to be.

“Prince has spoken very highly of the program and what their coaches bring to the table. I know that it’s a very historic program and it speaks for itself — not only the football program, but the education that comes with it. It’s a very intriguing place and it definitely has Prince’s attention.”

Collecting an offer from Notre Dame speaks to the caliber of student Kollie is.

“He works hard in the classroom and understands that his play on the field doesn’t mean anything if he can’t carry his weight in the classroom as well,” Chandley noted. “That’s really important for a young man his age to understand — that the grades come first. He’s done well the past three years to set himself to have an opportunity to go to Notre Dame and so many other schools that require higher academics.

“He wants to excel in everything he does, which includes the classroom.”

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