Notre Dame down to six scholarship linebackers for Notre Dame-Toledo without Prince Kollie
SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame's linebacker depth took another hit when the football program announced freshman Prince Kollie won't be available for Saturday's home opener against Toledo.
Kollie didn't play in Sunday's 41-38 overtime victory at Florida State, but he was elevated to the No. 2 will linebacker during the week following a torn labrum diagnosis for senior linebacker Shayne Simon.
Without Kollie, the No. 8 Irish (1-0) will play Saturday with only six scholarship linebackers, one of which is sophomore Xavier Watts, who switched positions from wide receiver to rover linebacker this week. Notre Dame already lost junior linebacker Marist Liufau (ankle/leg), senior linebacker Paul Moala (Achilles) and Simon (shoulder) to season-ending injuries.
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Notre Dame did not provide any additional details on Kollie's Saturday absence. The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Kollie was named the top linebacker in high school last year when he won the Butkus Award following his senior season at Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett.
Due to the thinning depth at linebacker, Kollie likely wasn't going to wait long to break into the Irish lineup. The opportunity won't come against Toledo (1-0).
“It doesn't matter how good you are — we’ve got to be able to trust you,” Kelly said Monday. “That trust is going to have to be accelerated with Prince. So yes, he's moving inside and he's gonna get work. And we may have to call upon him a little bit sooner than we had expected."
What to know about Prince Kollie
6-foot-0½, 222 pounds, freshman (freshman eligibility) from Jonesborough, Tennessee (David Crockett)
In high school
♦ Four-star recruit at outside linebacker by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports
♦ The Tennessee Titans Class 5A Mr. Football in 2020
♦ Winner of 2020 high school Butkus Award
♦ Was scheduled to play in 2021 Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando before it was canceled by COVID-19
♦ A two-way player for David Crockett, he had 109 tackles (59 solos), two sacks and one INT and rushed for 1,562 yards and 26 TDs his senior season
♦ Has brother John Jr. who plays football at Bluefield College in Virginia
♦ Also played basketball at David Crockett
Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.