Notre Dame Football: Prince Kollie fills an important void at linebacker

Notre Dame Linebacker position(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Notre Dame Linebacker position(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Somewhat curiously, Notre Dame football has not been able to gain traction recruiting the linebacker position. That changed Friday night.

On Friday night, Notre Dame football landed a commitment from 2021 Tennessee linebacker Prince Kollie. Since the Irish offered back in May, there was no doubt defensive coordinator Clark Lea wanted Kollie badly. Lea treated him like a 5-star prospect and made it clear that he was the linebacker they wanted in this class. That would have been a hard thing to pass up, and at the end of the day Kollie just couldn’t say no to the Irish and Lea.

The development and impact the staff has on their resume was a huge reason for Notre Dame ultimately winning this battle. The biggest threat here seemed to be Louisville for quite some time, mainly because of the great relationships with the players and the young staff that the Cardinals are building, so the Irish holding them off was a really nice win in itself.

Kollie holds 34 offers from LSU, Louisville, Georgia and Oklahoma among many other top programs.

What will Kollie be bringing to South Bend?

The 6’1,” 195-pound linebacker is going to bring physicality and impose his will on anyone that he lines up against. His coverage skills really stand out, as well, where he shows great awareness and is quick in pursuit of the ball. He’s an absolute ballhawk. Kollie will make you earn every inch if you have the ball in your hand.

He isn’t the tallest — think former Irish linebacker Tevon Coney in terms of height — but he does have long arms that really help him in coverage, so it definitely makes up for his lack of vertical length. I think Kollie will be able to line up at multiple linebacker spots, whether it’s starting out at the ROVER position, which is where I would keep him at his whole career, or even being a solid Buck option for Notre Dame.

I’ve also seen people throw out safety depending on his body development, but I think that’ll be determined once strength coach Matt Balis gets a hold of him. Regardless, he’s a very good and underrated prospect and someone that could develop into an excellent NFL prospect down the road.

With Prince Kollie’s commitment, the Irish have 16 pledges in the class of 2021 — eight on offense and now eight of defense. Kollie is the lone linebacker in the class and I expect that to be the case when signing day rolls around.

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At the end of the day, Clark Lea wanted Kollie because he saw something special in his game and he got the guy he wanted badly. This was a battle until the end, but the staff got it done and is bringing in a really nice player that also has an edge to him. Kollie is the type of guy you want on your team and Irish fans should be very excited for this recruiting class pickup and for years to come.