Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Brandon Collier Connecting Colleges, Prospects From Overseas

December 1, 2018
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Notre Dame went global recently, extending a scholarship offer to Alexander Ehrensberger‍ , a 2020 defensive end form Germany and that could just be the start of a new recruiting trend for the Irish.

Ehrensberger made a recent tour of top programs in the United States along with other members of PPI.

PPI was founded by Brandon Collier a couple years ago, when Collier realized many football prospects in Europe were being overlooked.

“I played a year in the NFL and a year in the CFL,” said Collier, who spent a season with the Philadelphia Eagles after a standout career playing defensive tackle at UMass.

“I got hurt in the NFL and then hurt in the CFL. I ended up playing in Germany. I saw so many talented kids in Europe, I just said that I wanted to help these kids.”

Collier helps out in just about all aspects of the process.

“I coach a lot of them,” he said. “I work hand in hand with them, especially with the d-linemen. We have a summer tour, where I bring them over to camp and things like. Coaching, mentoring and bringing them over to camp.”

Success has come quickly.

“I think we’ll have 32 kids total who have Division-I scholarships through our program over the last two years,” said Collier. “I believe it’s 16 in school right now and there will be 32 by the time this next class is in school, all Division-I schools. We’ve got a kid at Michigan right now, one at Rutgers, Cincinnati. 

“Florida offered two of our o-linemen. We just had a quarterback who committed to Virginia. There’s been a lot of success over the last 18, 19 months.”

The challenges of getting the European kids prepared to play the game in the United States aren’t as stiff as some may imagine, according to Collier.

“Football has been played in Europe since the 60s or 70s, a long time,” he said. “Some of these kids are playing five, six years. Pretty much, they’re playing the same football.

“A lot of these kids are ready right now. Some people assume they’re are raw or inexperienced just because they come from Europe without knowing that these kids have a lot of experience under their belt.”

Collier will bring groups over multiple times a year to see and be seen.

“The guys will do a summer tour, we’ll bring them over to do camps,” he said. “Then we’ll do a winter tour where they can visit and see more schools.”

With college scouts unable to cross the pond during evaluation periods the way they do with prospects in the States, Collier says he has to “go outside of the box and go to them.”

“We’re not shy about coming and showcasing our talent for the coaches,” he added. “That’s what we do, come, show up on campus, meet the coaches and go from there.”

Ehrensberger’s situation isn’t unusual among Collier’s kids.

“We’ve had kids with offers from Florida, Nebraska, Michigan, so it’s not like he’s the only kid who has had a Power Five offer like this,” said Collier.

“I have probably five to 10 kids who have Notre Dame-type of potential who would definitely be interested. I have a quarterback in the 2021 class who is 6-5, 230 pounds with a big arm from Germany.”

Collier is referring to Alexander Honig.

“He’s going to be a kid who is going to be on Notre Dame’s radar pretty soon,” he said.

“I’ve got another 2020 three-technique named Joseph Darkwa who Notre Dame is interested in. I feel like he’s the kind of kid who will get an offer soon as well. He’s an inside guy. He’s from Germany as well.”

While many of Collier’s top targets come from Germany, he’s essentially scouring the planet looking for talent.

“I probably work out of 12, 13 different countries at the moment. I’m trying to expand everywhere outside of the United States. Canada, I’ll be there one day, and Australia because there’s football played everywhere.”

And there will always be coaches in America looking to bring that talent here.

 
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