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Tennessee Offer “Huge” for In-State Defender

(Photo via @p_kollie_21 on Twitter)

In-state defender Prince Kollie out of Jonesborough, TN has seen his recruitment blow up recently. The three-star linebacker/safety who plays for David Crockett High School has gotten a ton of attention since his junior year ended, and the big in-state school finally gave him the offer he was hoping for.

Over the weekend, Tennessee extended an offer to Kollie, becoming just the latest in a long line of schools to give him an offer. Kollie spoke with RTI about his offer from the Vols, his overall recruitment, and his plans for the future.

Kollie said that Tennessee defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley was the coach from UT’s staff who contacted him, and Ansley and Tennessee’s staff were impressed with Kollie’s film from his junior year.

“When he offered, he was just saying that they believed in me as a player on and off the field,” Kollie explained. “They like some of the things I bring to the table, my aggression and physicality, my natural instinct to get to the ball carrier. He said he liked my tape.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defender has added a plethora of offers over the last few months, but the one from the Vols really stood out to him.

“It was huge. Being in-state, really, it’s home. It means a lot,” Kollie said. “I have a lot of friends around me that like UT, so I was excited about the offer. They’ll definitely be in my top list.”

That list, however, has grown exponentially since Kollie’s junior season at David Crockett finished up.

Along with his impressive film, Kollie also filled up the stat sheet in the 2019 season. On defense, Kollie totaled 78 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, seven passes defended, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery according to MaxPreps. Not only that, but he added 68 receptions for 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns on offense, showing off his versatility and athleticism.

Since the beginning of 2020, Kollie has picked up 27 FBS offers, and a large portion of those have come from Power Five schools. Programs like Georgia, Auburn, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Virginia Tech have offered him. Virginia extended the first offer to Kollie back on January 29th, and his recruitment has just snowballed from there.

So how is the young defender handling all this new attention?

“First and foremost, I just want to thank God for all the offers I’ve gotten, because it’s really His timing and Him working behind the scenes,” Kollie said. “It’s overwhelming, but it’s a blessing. I’m just happy to be one of the people getting all this attention.”

Why has Kollie blown up so much lately? According to him, it’s all because of his strong junior year film.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Kollie has been unable to attend any camps this spring, which is normally a time recruits like him who have flown under the radar would get a chance to see coaches face-to-face and work out for them.

Despite that, Kollie has still been getting offers left and right.

“It was really just my tape. If your tape isn’t productive, if it’s not good, then you really don’t get this kind of attention,” Kollie explained. “I think it came from my film. I didn’t get to go into any camps before the coronavirus happened, so really most of it is coming from my film. I’m really just thankful.”

Right now, Kollie is rated as a three-star recruit, the No. 33 outside linebacker, and the No. 12 prospect in Tennessee in the 2021 class per 247Sports. But with programs like Georgia, Oklahoma, Auburn, and Tennessee all extending offers to him along with many others, it’s only a matter of time before that rating changes.

Kollie got an opportunity to go visit Tennessee’s campus last football season. He was in attendance for the Vols’ 20-10 victory over Mississippi State, and he came away impressed with what he saw.

“It’s Rocky Top. It’s different from any other,” Kollie said. “We’re the Volunteer State. We really like our football around here. I loved it, loved the stadium. It’s a really big stadium with a lot of fans that really care. It was great.”

But Kollie isn’t your typical in-state prospect. He and his family moved from Liberia in west Africa about 15 years ago, and they settled in Tennessee. Because of that, Kollie and his family weren’t born Vol fans, but he still knew a little bit about the Vols prior to visiting them in October.

“I didn’t keep up with them much, honestly,” Kollie said of Tennessee. “I know they had a couple great players in (Josh) Dobbs and Alvin Kamara. I’m in the state, so I know stuff about them, but in-depth, I didn’t really know much about them.

“But I’m excited about the opportunity and the offer.”

Before the pandemic in the US, Kollie had plans to go and visit schools throughout the spring and summer, and he originally wanted to commit before the start of his senior season. That’s still his tentative plan, but he realizes things could change.

“Me and my coaches had discussed it, and we thought it would be better if I made that decision before my senior season. That could change depending on if we’re allowed to visit because of the virus,” Kollie explained. “I would like to go to some places as soon as possible and when we’re allowed. I kinda have a time frame for all that, but I’m still open because things change.”

Kollie said that Tennessee would definitely be one of the schools he would visit once he’s allowed to do so.

As for where the 6-foot-1, 200-pound defender will play on the field, that all depends on how his body develops between now and when he starts college.

Right now, Kollie sees himself more as a potential safety, but he’s coming around to the idea of playing linebacker. Most of the colleges recruiting him are selling him on playing linebacker, but one school in particular sees him as more of a secondary player.

“Personally, I think I’d be a better fit for safety, but I’m starting to believe that I can actually be a great fit in the box at linebacker,” Kollie stated. “Most of the colleges want me at linebacker. There’s one, Virginia Tech, that’s offered at safety. Depending on how my body develops is where I’ll end up playing. Some of them think I could be a hybrid of both.

“I’m open to anything. I’ll do whatever best benefits the team and whatever gets me on the field the fastest. That’s my view of it.”

But football isn’t the only thing Kollie is looking at from a school; academics is very important to him, too.

“Everybody knows football doesn’t last forever,” Kollie said. “Crazy injuries happen all the time. It’s unexpected a lot of times. So you just gotta be ready on the academic side to have a great life, because football is not forever.

“I believe academics are so important because that’s what my parents have instilled in me ever since we got here. They view America as the land of opportunity. That’s definitely what it is. Academics can put you at a higher level early on.”

With over two dozen offers under his belt and more likely on the way, Prince Kollie’s recruitment will be an interesting one to watch. The Vols look to be right in the thick of things for the in-state defender, however, and UT can look forward to seeing Kollie back on campus as soon as possible.

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