On Sunday evening, Serbian offensive lineman Ilija Krajnovic committed to the Boston College Eagles. If you do a typical college football recruit Google search, you'll find there isn't much on this rising high school senior. He doesn't have a Rivals/247 page, he has a blank HUDL highlight reel, and his Twitter account isn't filled with tweets bragging about offers. But don't let his non traditional route to Boston College fool you, Krajnovic could be one of the most exciting recruits in the 2021 class.
The reason there isn't much data on him is that Krajnovic is brand new to the United States. He recently transferred to the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida, a school that has famous NCAA alumni like Michigan center and first round pick Cesar Ruiz, Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond, Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit, and Clemson star Xavier Thomas in just the past year. Krajnovic has never been to the United States before, but coaches and scouts all over the country quickly learned who he is.
For Ilija Krajnovic, the journey to football only started recently. Before he got into football, the very athletic and very big Serbian was into a whole slew of other sports including volleyball, waterpolo, kickboxing, MMA, and basketball. But then came along the sport that would change the trajectory of his life. He told BC Bulletin "I started to play football back home first as a nose tackle in senior league, and then as an offensive tackle in U19."
He continued to pick up the game and learn, and camped in Germany where he met Brandon Collier and Paul Alexander. Alexander a former offensive line coach with the Cincinnati Bengals and currently a coach on the Potsdam Royals, while Collier runs PPI Recruits, a program that specializes in placing international players in NCAA programs.
At that camp Krajnovic talked about learning drills and technique, but he picked up something even bigger. That camp was when he found IMG Academy, in Florida. With one year remaining before college, the big Serbian who was now 6'8 325 pounds decided to move across the Atlantic Ocean where he was going to play for one of the premier college football prep programs in the country.
It didn't take long for NCAA coaches to get wind of the new and exciting recruit. According to Krajnovic it was Boston College offensive line coach Matt Applebaum who reached out to him first with a text. He heard from other coaches as well, like the Michigan Wolverines who also were in contact with him. But his relationship with Applebaum was the incredible important, and seemed to be a difference maker. He told BC Bulletin "He is a great guy and he really introduced me to Boston College. We had Zoom calls where we talked about the football program at BC and the city."
Clearly his conversation with the coaches had an impact on him, because Krajnovic ended up committing to Boston College. "The Boston College football program is great and I wanted to be a part of it and the school has a really good program for the major I want to study." he told BC Bulletin.
Living in this new country, Krajnovic wouldn't be where he was without his family. "I want to thank my family, my father, my mother and my two brothers who have always been there for me and they were giving me wind in the back to continue when it's tough." He is relatively new to football, but he is focused on the goal he has set for himself. "I am going to make my family and country proud by working hard and one day playing in the NFL."
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