Because of the NCAA’s mandated dead period due to the coronavirus pandemic, many college prospects in the 2021 class have had to make commitments without taking a formal recruiting trip.
Some have taken their own self-guided tours of campus, while others made decisions sight unseen.
For Jonesborough (Tenn.) David Crockett’s Prince Kollie, the nation’s No. 22 outside linebacker per Rivals, he picked the Irish in August without ever setting foot on campus.
But his high school team had a bye this past week, which allowed Kollie and Crockett assistant coach Kevin Ramsey to take a drive up to South Bend.
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“It was important for me to put eyes on the unbelievable things I’ve been seeing online for myself,” Kollie said. “I wanted to see where I’d be spending the next few years of my life.”
Kollie spent Friday and Saturday morning at Notre Dame before heading back to Tennessee. He toured Notre Dame’s campus, saw the stadium, academic buildings and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and more.
“I really enjoyed it,” Kollie said. “It’s hard to put into words how much I liked the campus and the architecture. My favorite part of it would be the Grotto because of how strong my faith is and how important God is to me. I really enjoyed everything about campus, and I can’t wait to actually stay here.”
Of course, Kollie wasn’t able to see the coaches while on campus due to the dead period, but after touring the University, he got on the phone with his future position coach to discuss his experience.
“When I got back to the hotel, I called Coach Clark Lea and told him that I was ready to sign today,” Kollie said. “I told him how much I appreciated the relationship we’ve built. It was those relationships that helped me become comfortable with my decision to commit even though I hadn’t seen campus yet.
“Finally getting to see campus has validated everything that I hoped it would be.”
Kollie held over 30 scholarship offers and narrowed down his recruitment to Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma before his decision to choose the Irish. Schools have slowed down their pursuits of Kollie, but there are still some who hope to flip him.
The 6-2, 205-pounder notes that he “respectfully declines” their recruitment of him.
“That’s the best way to put it,” explained Kollie.
Kollie is exploring the possibility of enrolling early at Notre Dame.