Reports: Notre Dame football linebacker Prince Kollie enters transfer portal

Mike Berardino
ND Insider
Nov 5, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Prince Kollie (10) returns a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

SOUTH BEND — The Prince Kollie Project has run its course at Notre Dame football.

According to multiple reports Monday, the junior reserve linebacker has entered the transfer portal. Kollie, a special teams standout who flashed his potential in limited snaps on defense, missed the final two weeks of spring practice with a concussion.

Kollie, whose name was removed from the official team roster on the university website, also missed time in concussion protocol during fall training camp last August.

“PK was having a really good offseason until he got banged up,” defensive coordinator Al Golden said on April 15.

Kollie, a four-star recruit from Jonesborough, Tenn., blocked punts last October in consecutive games against Stanford and UNLV. Kollie also returned Jordan Botelho’s blocked punt against No. 4 Clemson for the first score in a season-defining upset.

“I know what I’m capable of, who I can be, where I can go,” Kollie said on March 29. “I never lose confidence in that. It’s a process for everybody. I just have to focus on mine and I’ll get to where I want to be.”

Kollie, at 6-foot and 220 pounds, finished last season with 19 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, as well as 1.5 sacks. Stuck behind seniors JD Bertrand, Jack Kiser and Marist Liufau — the top three tacklers in 2022 — Kollie struggled to carve out consistent playing time.

The spring emergence of redshirt freshman linebackers Jaylen Sneed and Nolan Ziegler, who combined for 17 tackles in the Blue-Gold Game, made a crowded situation look even more challenging for Kollie.

Tom Noie:Notre Dame junior Prince Kollie looks the player part at linebacker, but ...

Kiser, the returning starter at rover who suffered a broken left big toe in the April 15 scrimmage, had been working some at inside linebacker this spring as well.

“We know Jack Kiser is going to be on the field,” Irish coach Marcus Freeman said recently. “If you’ve got a guy like Jack that can play multiple positions, you could give those inside guys a break and get a younger guy or inexperienced guy on the field at that rover position. A guy that can do multiple positions creates an opening for another guy.”

In Kollie’s case, that might have created a logjam that pushed a talented-but-stymied reserve out the door.

“I feel like I can go to the league (NFL) and play a long time in the league,” Kollie said this spring. “Those are my thoughts.”

The 15-day spring window for undergraduates to enter the transfer portal runs through April 30.  

Former Irish wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, another junior who had lost ground in a talented position group, entered the transfer portal on April 21 after considering a move to cornerback.

Follow Notre Dame football writer Mike Berardino on Twitter @MikeBerardino.