Prince Kollie ended Notre Dame’s linebacker recruiting drought of nearly two years.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect from Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett announced his verbal commitment to the Irish on Friday with a video on Twitter.
Kollie became the first linebacker to commit to Notre Dame since JD Bertrand in Nov. 2018. The Irish signed four linebackers in Bertrand’s 2019 class but went without one in the 2020 class.
Kollie picked the Irish ahead of a top five that included LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma and Louisville.
247Sports slates Kollie as a four-star recruit and the No. 16 outside linebacker in the 2021 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 57 athlete — a designation for players with potential at multiple positions.
“He’s a good ballplayer,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He has good range. He has outstanding potential. They like recruiting these guys that are kind of tall and thin.
“For getting him this late in the cycle, it’s a really good catch. Give (defensive coordinator and linebackers coach) Clark Lea kudos for getting him because he had some big schools coming after him.”
Kollie may have been Notre Dame’s only realistic option to add at linebacker in the 2021 class. Most of the other linebackers the Irish offered in the class were already committed elsewhere or not showing much interest in Notre Dame.
Kollie doesn’t have great size, but his versatility could be what interested Lea, who has been picky with linebacker recruiting in recent cycles. The Irish extended a scholarship offer to Kollie in May.
Kollie displayed his variety of skills in his junior season at David Crockett. As a wide-ranging defender, Kollie tallied 78 tackles, seven pass breakups, four tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception. As a big-play threat at wide receiver, Kollie recorded 68 catches for 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns.
Kollie gives Notre Dame 16 verbal commitments in the 2021 class. The last 10 have joined the class since the NCAA mandated a recruiting dead period because of the coronavirus pandemic. The recruiting calendar is scheduled to remain a dead period — which prevents recruits from making unofficial and official visits — through at least Aug. 31.
247Sports slates Notre Dame's class No. 12 in the country. Rivals ranks it at No. 13.
Notre Dame could add another commitment Saturday when four-star offensive lineman Rocco Spindler announces his decision. He will pick one of five schools: Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU, Ohio State or Penn State.