Class Impact: LB Prince Kollie To Notre Dame
Notre Dame has landed an important commitment by picking up Jonesborough (Tenn.) Crockett standout linebacker Prince Kollie. This pledge is incredibly important for Notre Dame from both a talent and needs standpoint.
The Irish beat out Louisville, LSU, Georgia and Oklahoma. Kollie also had offers from Alabama, Texas, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Kentucky, West Virginia, NC State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Vanderbilt and Kansas.
Let's take a look at what his commitment means for Notre Dame.
Landing Kollie gives Notre Dame 16 commitments in the 2021 class, and he's the eighth defensive player, giving the Irish a very balanced class thus far.
Notre Dame did not sign a single linebacker or rover in the 2020 class, and the staff appears to want a very small 2021 linebacker haul. The key in the 2021 class, then, was landing an impact talent, and Kollie is that kind of player.
Landing a player with versatility was also important, and while Kollie is a rover, he has traits that could result in him moving inside if the need ever arose. When you have a small haul at a position it's important to add a player that can move around, and it's even more important when you consider the Irish came up empty at linebacker in the previous class.
Kollie received an offer from Notre Dame in May, which was a bit late in the process relative to other positions, but it was obvious he was a top target from that moment on. Louisville put up an extremely hard fight for Kollie, but in the end the Irish staff got their man.
The Crockett standout adds another highly ranked defender to the class as well. Kollie is ranked as the nation's No. 210 overall player according to ESPN and No. 231 by 247Sports. Kollie grades out as a Top 150 player on the Irish Breakdown board.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Right now, Kollie's frame and game is all about the rover position. He's listed at 6-2 and 200 pounds, but he's still on the thin side. He's rangy and brings a lot of pop, but his body right now is ideally suited for playing in space.
The Crockett star will understandably draw comparisons to current star rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but Kollie is even bigger at the same age. Owusu-Koramoah broke out as a senior in high school, but Kollie's junior tape is even better.
Kollie has extremely long arms and is a fluid athlete. He's quick and has impressive top-end speed. All those traits give him exceptional range, and they are why he fits in so well at rover. Kollie is also a dominant prep wide receiver, and that experience as a pass catcher helps him as a pass defender. He knows what opponents want to do, and his range and athleticism allows him to cover a lot of ground.
Despite being just around 200 pounds right now, Kollie arrives at the football with force. He can play sideline-to-sideline, but he can also plant, drive on the ball and deliver punishment. His length and strong hands also make him extremely difficult to block, especially when he's on the perimeter and matched up against wide receivers.
Kollie projects to be a top-notch space player in coverage, but he also has top-level run defense traits, especially on the perimeter. He is also an effective edge rusher in high school, showing good timing, speed off the edge and closing ability.
That kind of all-around skillset with that kind of athleticism for a perimeter player is extremely hard to find, but it's incredibly important for the Notre Dame rover position. Kollie grades out extremely well in all of the areas required for the rover position in Clark Lea's defense.
With his length and frame, I could see Kollie adding enough size to eventually play inside. Notre Dame doesn't need a 240-pounder inside, especially at the Buck position. Kollie could eventually get to the size where he could hold up inside. He certainly has the foot quickness, instincts and punch to play inside, and that is why he is so versatile. Kollie could certainly play rover for his entire career, but the fact he could play inside if need be adds to his value as a prospect.
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