It’s absolutely nothing like high school.
Prince Kollie, from the tiny David Crockett High School tucked away in the northeast corner of Tennessee, near the volunteer state’s borders with North Carolina and Virginia, had a pretty simple order during his prep days.
“None,” Kollie said of the number of checks he had to perform as a top picker. “Look at the ball, take the ball. »
Now, as a second-year linebacker for Notre Dame under head coach Marcus Freeman, his former defensive coordinator and position coach, as well as new defensive coordinator Al Golden – also a former head coach who arrived at South Bend, Indiana, this winter after a stint with Super Bowl finalist Cincinnati – Kollie began to develop her game on many levels.
“There are a lot of different checks during games,” Kollie said Thursday, as the Irish worked toward the end of their second week of spring camp. “Our offense does a lot of movement, and they put the formation on the limit, FSL, just a lot of different things. Then the speed of the game, you add that factor, you can probably get mentally tangled up.
After appearing in the last 10 Irish games of the 2021 season, Kollie caught Golden’s attention in the early days of spring camp.
“I’m thrilled with him,” said Golden, the former Miami and Temple head coach. ” He is very intelligent.
“Look, they all have a long way to go, you know, but if they have the traits in terms of physicality, will he just go on naturally, is he smart, can he learn, you know, day by day and respond to what he’s taught. And I’d say Prince is checking those boxes right now. He knows he’s got a long way to go and we’re right there in the trenches with him working myself, James, Ronnie You know, we all work together, the older guys help them.
The 6-foot-1/2, 222-pound Kollie found Golden had already put his mark on the Notre Dame defense.
“He brought a lot of different shots,” Kollie said of Golden. “We do a lot of different stunts in a lot of different formations, that’s the most important thing.
“We can blitz from anywhere in any formation and we can do a lot of different things with different personnel. So the linebacker could be lined up on the line or he could be back. Just lots of different ways to attack an offense.
And how did Kollie respond to this approach?
“I love it,” Kollie said. “I absolutely love him. I probably need to work a bit more on passing rushing, I feel like that will help me in the future.
To that end, Kollie has worked closely with Isaiah Foskey — who opted to return to Notre Dame after a strong NFL Draft projection — as well as Jayson and Justin Ademilola.
“I get along with, honestly, I get along with the d-line players; Foskey, he’ll be a first-rounder,” Kollie said. “The two twins, I’ll just ask them little things like what do you do when a lineman crashes and they’ll be like, ‘Slide like that. Little things like that, I really tell them a lot whenever I can.
Kollie’s work caught the attention of her teammates.
“He’s been really good; PK did very well, he’s learning a lot too,” said Marist Liufau, who returned to full training after a season-ending injury suffered last August. “It intensifies as it matures; he showed a lot of maturity. He learns his plays and does his homework. It’s really nice to watch.
FOCUS ON THE TEAM, NOT THE GREEN
Name, image and likeness opportunities continue to be a dominant topic in college athletics, particularly in the world of football after recent reports that a five-star quarterback from 2023 – according to the sources, University of Tennessee pledge Nico Yamaleava — had signed a NIL pact worth $7-8 million, long before his senior year of high school, not to mention his very first snap on college grounds.
Notre Dame took a measured approach, and Jack Kiser said that stemmed from the priority given to the Fighting Irish team.
“I think a big thing is you don’t really hear the guys in the locker room talking about their stuff,” Kiser said. “It’s very nonchalant, it’s not that important. What is important for us is to win a national championship, and I think everyone knows that obviously they go hand in hand.
“If you are national champions, NIL will take care of themselves. I don’t know how rare it is because I’m not in those other locker rooms, but I think it’s something special at Notre Dame. It’s a team first and foremost. We take care of each other. We are by no means here for ourselves.