In retrospect, the first name “Prince” should have been a clue. That could have been because Prince Kollie’s parents gave him a very special name. An uncommon one for their family.
But they didn’t really mean to.
John and Rita Kollie came to America from Liberia when he was very young. He estimated that he was one year old when his family came to the United States in 2004 or 2005. His older brothers, John Jr. and Joshua, were not given names that would stand out on a football roster.
Not like Prince Kollie.
“It is just a name that my parents gifted me with at a very young age,” Prince Kollie said. “I don’t think there’s any reason or meaning to it. Not that I know of.”
It still befits a young man who did some very uncommon things last season.
“There are some things that you just can’t explain about players and kids,” Davy Crockett High School head coach Hayden Chandley said. “But there is something truly different about this kid. I have never seen a more gifted kid physically at his age.”
It is certainly hard to explain. Please allow us the distribution of several factoids in an attempt to at least try to.
- The 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete had 65 tackles, 696 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. That was just the warm-up act for a defender who now has five career interceptions.
- Kollie tallied up 68 catches for 1,085 receiving yards and nine touchdowns coming out of the slot receiver position in 2019. It was his first year at wideout.
- He did so while also contributing 78 tackles and four tackles for losses in 2019. Kollie even added two sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and seven PBUs.
- The proper filter here to use to gauge those details is that he is being recruited by Georgia to play ILB for assistant coach Glenn Schumann’s room.
- Kollie was primarily a tailback and a full-time starter on defense during his first two seasons of high school ball.
- During the quarantine, he’s tried to create a makeshift gym in his garage. But the engineering of finding a way to put that together didn’t go so well. It means he finds himself running up a hill near his home 10 times. He does that at least four times every week.
- There is a brilliant play from last fall where he converts a 3rd-and-23 while running a corner route from the slot. That was against a Cover 2 look where the safety made a great play. The ball went through the defender’s fingers but Kollie still came up with it. He dove for a leaping grab about two yards beyond the sticks during the fourth quarter of a tie game.
- Chandley first laid eyes on Kollie at the end of his freshman year. When he did, he thought he was a rising senior or a senior who just wrapped up his eligibility. He did not believe he could be 14 years of age.
It can be Googled to learn that music icon Prince by that same name played 27 instruments during his career, including vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, clavinet, drums, percussion, saxophone, and harmonica, among many others.
That’s the type of versatility Kollie will show on his own highlight reel.
If someone wished to assert that the Georgia defense is getting so nouveau and fancy that it recruits 1,000-yard receivers with 68-catch seasons to play inside linebacker, then we wouldn’t debate that point.
Kollie currently rates as 4-star prospect on the 247Sports Composite scale. That well-respected service tracks him as the nation’s No. 25 OLB prospect and the No. 356 overall recruit for 2021.
The big names on Kollie’s offer list prior to that point: Auburn, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The big names on Kollie’s offer list after that UGA offer: FSU, LSU, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
Kollie recently told DawgNation he knows which school he will aim to visit first once the pandemic concerns allow for the return of recruiting trips.
That school is Georgia.
He also knows of only one school which has already earned an official visit.
That school is also Georgia.
Check out the eye-opening junior film on Kollie below. It is 11 minutes long because it is scattered and smothered with all those post and inside slant routes and bubble screens from his slot receiver position:
Prince Kollie: What he already likes about Georgia
We’ve reached the point of this breakdown on Kollie and are silently admonishing ourselves. We somehow let the eye candy of all those game-breaking plays he made on the offensive side of the ball get away from the main thing.
That’s the thing that blue-chip recruiters see, too. If he can make all those plays with a ball in his hands and then we put him in the middle of our defense well then …..
We get it. It impresses. Without a doubt.
But there’s not one single clip as memorable as the story of the highlight Kollie authored when it had nothing to do with the game of football. This moment came on a FaceTime call with Schumann.
“I was on a call with him one day and my Mom came home,” Kollie said. “She had groceries.”
Prince Kollie said he has been timed on the laser at 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash by the staff at Virginia Tech. (Prince Kollie/Courtesy photo)
When he saw that, he asked the co-defensive coordinator of a team that has gone 21-4 in the SEC over the last three years for a timeout.
“Coach, can I get a second?” Kollie said to Schumann.
When he did that, it made a clear impression on Schumann. It might eventually serve him as well with the Georgia staff as any of those plays he made at linebacker or receiver on tape.
“He said he likes me for that moment as well,” he said. “He said that it showed him a lot about my character and what my beliefs are as a young man and trying to be a great son.”
Why was Georgia going to get that first visit? It will be his first trip.
“They have a really good tradition of playing at a high level and putting players into the league and winning,” he said. “I feel like they have a perfect combination of football and education. That’s why.”
Kollie said that UGA graduate assistant Nathan Bryant has played a major factor, too.
“I was talking to graduate assistant Mr. Nathan Bryant at first,” Kollie said. “We were building a relationship and that’s a really good one there. That’s probably as good of a relationship I have right now as with any coach.”
When he got that Georgia offer from Schumann via FaceTime, he played it cool. Kind of like he makes do as a receiver even though he will be at linebacker on Saturdays.
“I try to contain my emotions,” Kollie said. “But then after the call and news like that, then I will let it loose.”
“I’ll yell and then I will run around and then I will give the glory to God. Because that is him working behind the scenes.”
It is absolutely like that in the Kollie household. With every offer.
He’s already had some good chats with Kirby Smart, too. Why did Georgia offer him?
“Coach Schumann just said that he likes my aggression and my instincts,” Prince Kollie said. “He likes how I am a natural defender and am not afraid to put my body on the line. He also likes who I am off the field and what I do off the field, too. That’s another big part of it.”
What does he like best about Georgia right now?
“I just love the environment that I see from down there,” he said. “I love the new lights they put in this past year. I just think it would be awesome to play on that field in front of that. They do their thing and win big games on the field and they also put young men in the league. Then education. It is a plus-plus and a win-win for me the way I look at it.”
The other schools in play for Prince Kollie
Kollie said that Boston College, Georgia, Virginia, and Wake Forest are the schools that have been recruiting him the hardest of late.
Speed is a big aspect of his game. Virginia Tech timed him at 4.62 seconds in the 40 on the laser at a workout.
He certainly has the defensive mentality for the game.
“I just like defense a lot,” he said. “I take pride in stopping another team from scoring. I think it is the hardest thing for a team to do on the field. It really gets under my skin when a team that has no business moving the ball starts moving the ball.”
“I just like getting my hits in and being physical on the defensive side of the ball.”
He’ll want to see Georgia first when visits are back in play, but he’ll look to check out Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, and Texas after that.
Kollie can be an early enrollee in January of 2021. He is open to doing that.
“That will give me the best chance of playing as a freshman but I will miss my school and my friends during the rest of my senior year.”
He has a 3.4 cumulative grade-point average and an interest in being a history major.
Prince Kollie is an ILB prospect, but he has tallied up 18 TDS and 143 tackles across his last two varsity seasons. (Prince Kollie/Instagram)
Prince Kollie: What his high school coach has to say
Kollie is known as “KP” around Davy Crockett High School in East Tennessee. It is about an hour away from Neyland Stadium in Knoxville
They are the Pioneers. With the coonskin caps on their logos, too.
There were four captains for the Crockett team last fall. Kollie was the only junior voted on by his peers for that leadership role.
They ask him to do a lot. It takes a mentally strong and physically strong player to be able to do that. Not just the off-season training for his conditioning to be able to take so many reps.
“It definitely is a blessing to be able to do so many things and show the versatility in my game to help my team,” he said. “Most defensive players can’t catch the ball, right? That’s what they say. Showing that I can catch the ball is definitely a plus.”
Kollie excels in a 3-4 defense at Crockett. That’s the same base scheme as employed by Georgia. He’s played strong safety and as a hybrid defender. He will also shift to outside linebacker. He wasn’t exclusively at inside linebacker until the last four games of his junior year.
When the Pioneers faced a triple-option team, he was lined up as a “Joker” in a defense that’s linked for former Virginia Tech coordinator Bud Foster. The outside linebackers were fanned out wider than usual. Kollie was in the middle about seven yards out over the center.
His role was to just find the football. Kollie had 17 or 18 tackles in that game.
Davy Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley has his own story about Kollie, too.
“I haven’t figured this out yet maybe because I haven’t been coaching long enough,” Chandley said. “But some kids you just grow closer to than others. For whatever reason. Prince and I have developed that kind of relationship and I cherish it.”
That’s not just lip service. Kollie has given him example after example of why he feels that way, too. Chandley was able to share one of those.
It pertains to a $20 sterling silver cross that he has always worn around his neck.
“Prince being around me everyday notices it,” Chandley said.
There was this day about 18 months ago. It was during his first six months on the job as the head coach at Crockett High School.
“Coach, I love your necklace,” Kollie said then. “If I had one like it, I would never take it off.”
Chandley immediately took it off his neck. He handed it to Kollie. It was a gift.
“I swear to you to this day I’ve never seen that kid without that necklace on,” Chandley said. “He’s never taken that off.”
Faith is central to Kollie’s daily walk. The phrase “God is good yesterday, today and forever” is the first thing anyone will see on his Twitter page. It also serves as the first phrase on the majority of the tweets that share the news that he has received his latest offer.
“I do this for my mom and my Dad, my whole family, and I do it for God,” Prince Kollie said. “I believe it is a platform to get to show young men how to take on this life and not be defeated in this life. The one thing you should know about me is that my family and I are God-oriented. Every chance I get I am going to give God the glory, he is the one who got me this far.”
“I do what I do to glorify God and for the people around me to prove something. Being from East Tennessee you are not really supposed to make it out of here. I’m just trying to show the young men around me that it is possible with God.”
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(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)