Tennessee made an interesting offer on Sunday, letting instate LB Prince Kollie know that he has a spot in Knoxville. Kollie, a 3-star prospect on 247 Sports (unrated by Rivals), plays for David Crockett High School in “Tennessee’s Oldest Town” of Jonesborough, near the Tri-Cities and the Virginia border.
Listed at 6’2 and 192 pounds, Kollie projects as an ILB in Tennessee’s 3-4 system and has seen his recruitment go from a steady burn to a boil in the last week. The Volunteers’ offer follows those from Oklahoma and Georgia and builds on the likes of Kentucky, Mississippi State, and a six ACC schools including relatively nearby Virginia Tech (which is not only close but has a tie, as the Hokies DC Justin Hamilton coached Kollie’s high school coach in college) among others. Obviously the offers from the Sooners and Dawgs stand out and possibly got the attention of the Tennessee staff, but when you dig deeper you can see why the Vols would be very interested.
Start with the stats. Last season, playing both ways and multiple positions on each side of the ball, Kollie made 78 tackles with 4 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, 1 INT and 1 fumble recovery, all the while catching 68 passes for almost 1,100 yards and 9 TDs to go with a rushing TD. Second, and with the caveat that David Crockett is in Tennessee’s 5A classification so isn’t the best football in the state (but far from poor), check the film. Kollie is aggressive, goes after contact, appears to have an outstanding vertical jump, and gets sideline to sideline. Finally, as one might expect with offers from schools like Virginia, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Tulane, Kollie is also an excellent student, with a 3.8 GPA.
Kollie adds to Tennessee’s LB board, and joins a group of two other offerees in Kaemen Marley and Raheim Sanders who share similar builds – in the 6’2-6’3 and 200-210 pound range – and athleticism along with their ability to play all over the field. Of the three, Marley is more highly rated by both 247 Sports and Rivals, but at this point all three have strong offers lists that include Tennessee as well as other powers like Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma and Auburn.
While the Vols are in a dogfight for instate stud ILB Junior Colson with Michigan (who has family ties working in its favor), and are heavily involved with studs like 5-stars Terrence Lewis and Smael Mondon as well a few other guys with bigtime offer lists like Greg Penn and Ian Jackson, UT wouldn’t be considered at the top for any of them. One wonders if Marley, Sanders, and Kollie concentrated on not just one side of the ball but one position (in this case, LB) if they’re respective rankings wouldn’t be meaningfully higher, because even though they all play a lot of WR they really jump off the screen when they play defense with their explosiveness. In fact, Marley in particular was just downgraded by 247 specifically due to it being “hard to nail down a position for him.” All three have the look of dudes we’ve all seen flying all over the field for bigtime defenses like Auburn, LSU and Florida for years, and are the kind of guys that in the end you get into your program and find a place for them so they can make gamechanging plays for you instead of those programs.
Kollie adds to a growing number of instate players the Vols are chasing in a crop that is perhaps stronger than the popular narrative. With commitments from WR Walker Merrill, ATH Elijah Howard, and potentially guys like Colson and OL William Parker sooner rather than later, Tennessee has a chance to once again build its class around instate prospects. And with some momentum during COVID-19 imposed shutdown and the and a need for athletic playmakers all over the field, Kollie is an intriguing offer for a variety of reasons.