Notre Dame gets the letter: Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie
David Crockett High School; Jonesborough, Tenn.
Measurements: 6’2”, 205 lbs.Accolades: An Under Armour All-American and consensus four-star, Kollie is the No. 6 prospect in Tennessee, per rivals.com, the No. 16 linebacker in the class and the No. 239 overall prospect in the country. He is also one of five Dick Butkus Award finalists, recognizing the country’s best high school linebacker.
Other Notable Offers: If there was a recruit who might have ended up elsewhere after Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea agreed Monday to become the head coach at Vanderbilt, it would have been Kollie, recruited by Lea because of their shared Tennessee roots to play the starring Rover role in Lea’s defense under Lea’s tutelage as also the linebackers coach. Instead, the Irish spent the last 36 hours successfully reassuring Kollie, an effort led by defensive analyst Nick Lezynski.
If his feet had truly gotten cold, Kollie would have had options to choose from, holding scholarship offers from Alabama and Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech, and Ole Miss and Mississippi State, among many others.
Projected Position: Kollie’s size and speed make him the theoretical and ideal Rover. Of course, that position may be in flux with Lea’s departure, but it seems just as likely Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly makes defensive scheme continuity a priority in his search to replace the star coordinator.
Quick Take: Discussions of Kollie include two knocks on him: His size makes him a hybrid linebacker candidate and his high school competition is lackluster. In the eyes of the Irish coaching staff, though, neither of those is a concern. “Tweeners” make ideal Rovers, and its eye for talent evaluation has proven itself in recent years: Paul Moala, Jack Kiser and Marist Liufau all could have been similarly knocked for their high school competition, and all three look like viable contributors at the next level.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Moala and Kiser will compete to replace star Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in 2021, a dubious honor for anyone following a likely first-team All-American and surefire first-round NFL draft pick. With Liufau spending his time at Buck, though, Kollie should get some mop-up reps behind Moala and Kiser.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Both Moala and Kiser have years of eligibility remaining, but Kollie arrives with more hype than either. If he develops as expected, he could leapfrog Kiser in 2023, or at the least, supplement the Indiana native.
SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
— On Signing Day, remember Notre Dame’s surge has hinged on three-stars
— A Signing Day surprise: Four-star safety Khari Gee, flipped from LSU
— A Signing Day surprise: Consensus four-star RB Audric Estime, flipped from Michigan State
— Consensus four-star QB Tyler Buchner
— Trio of four-star WRs in Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas
— Five-star offensive tackle Blake Fisher and four-star guard Rocco Spindler
— Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie, the day’s greatest worry
— Hawaiian LB Kahanu Kia
— Cornerbacks Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes
— Three-star cornerbacks JoJo Johnson and Chance Tucker
— Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
— Tight ends Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans— Consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio— Pair of California defensive ends, Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
— Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
— Inexperienced defensive end Jason Onye
— Kicker Joshua Bryan