By TREY WILLIAMS
After soaring onto the elite football program’s radar this past spring and assessing a barrage of blue-blooded suitors’ interest via electronic communication during a pandemic, David Crockett senior football player Prince Kollie committed to Notre Dame on Friday.
Kollie also had offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Georgia. His final five included LSU, Oklahoma, Georgia and Louisville.
Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley and assistant Kevin Ramsey aided Kollie during the process, especially during a busy period from May through July.
Fielding video calls from a who’s who of football programs was surreal for the coaches, too.
“It’s unheard of what Prince has done,” Chandley said. “The recognition he’s received is second to none. Just to have that caliber of an athlete have interest from so many schools, and we’re talking the top-notch programs in the nation that are represented in the college football playoff every year. I mean you’re talking about Georgia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Notre Dame – all of those schools have been in the playoff in the past three years.
“I’m just extremely blessed to have a small hand in it. What he’s done for not only the team, the school and the community — he’s made a name for himself. It sounds cliché, but he really has put Jonesborough on the map.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Kollie has played everything from running back and receiver to defensive back and linebacker. He rushed for more than 200 yards as a freshman, mostly between the tackles, against a quality opponent (Campbell County).
Notre Dame, namely defensive coordinator Clark Lea, likes him at linebacker. The Fighting Irish have a rover linebacker position played by Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah which looks like a good fit for Kollie.
“Jeremiah is a projected first-round pick in next year’s draft if he comes out,” Chandley said. “He’ll just be a junior. He and Prince have had multiple conversations. And I know he’s talked to Harrison Smith, I believe a Knox Catholic guy who went to Notre Dame and has played X amount of years with the Minnesota Vikings. I know they’ve had multiple conversations, and that really stood out a lot Prince.”
Lea likes Kollie’s versatility.
“They’ll blitz him,” Chandley said. “He’ll play coverage. He’ll play ‘man’ on a receiver. He’ll do all kinds of things.”
Kollie was attracted to tradition-rich Notre Dame for more than football.
“The life-after-football aspect of it (appealed to him),” Chandley said. “They’ve got a little thing up there called the ‘Four for 40.’ You go to Notre Dame for four years to set you up for the next 40 years of your life. Just the amount of success that football players have had outside of football after they graduate is second to none.
“Really, you talk about an Ivy League education, and then next would arguably be a Notre Dame education. So he’s gonna get the best of both worlds. He’s gonna be playing on prime time every single week, which is pretty darn nice in itself.”
In big-time college recruiting, it’s been said more than once by coaches, a commitment just lets the coaches know who the competition is. Chandley knows schools will continue to recruit Kollie, but he’d be surprised if he changes course.
“I’d say especially his top five will still talk to him periodically,” Chandley said. “But Prince really wanted to have a decision made before our season started – before the pandemic really kicked in – just to have the decision behind him so he could focus on our season.”