In the world of college football recruiting, Brandon Collier is a guide in the wilderness. A former defensive lineman at Massachusetts, Collier now runs a recruiting service in Germany that helps connect European prospects and American coaches.
Among those who have come to rely upon him – Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins. Collier told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the two have a great relationship.
“Basically he told me he trusts me and everything I do,” Collier wrote in an e-mail. “So if I recommend a kid, he will recruit them. And, yes, Europe is a priority and this relationship will last a long time.”
Collins made a trip to Germany last week to visit with 2019 prospect Joseph Appiah Darkwa, a defensive tackle who is also being recruited by Penn State and Notre Dame, among others. While there, he also made scholarship offers to two 2020 prospects, a cornerback from England (Jairo Faverus) and a wide receiver/quarterback from Berlin (Roberto Miranda).
Tech has already signed one prospect from Europe, defensive end Sylvain Yondjouen from Ruisbroek, Belgium. He had been committed to Arizona but was persuaded to switch to Tech in the final days before the December signing period.
“I want to be coach Collins’ way of winning!” Yondjouen wrote in an e-mail.
Darkwa is a big prize. Collier said that if he were an American prospect, he would be a four-star recruit. The interest of Notre Dame and Penn State would suggest it’s not bluster. Penn State’s class is ranked 10th nationally (247 Sports composite) and of the Nittany Lions’ 19 players who have either enrolled or signed, 17 have either five- or four-star ratings.
Darkwa, 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, is choosing between Tech and Notre Dame for his final official visit. Tech was late to join the pursuit of Darkwa, but Collier said that Tech has a great chance, and that is because of Collins. Collier said that Darkwa “loved” Collins.
“He said he is very cool and enjoyed every minute with him,” Collier wrote. “The energy he brings!”
During former coach Paul Johnson’s tenure, Tech had attempted the same route, securing a commitment from a German player with Collier’s guidance, defensive end Julius Welschof, a prospect in the 2018 class. However, Welschof jumped tracks at the last minute, signing with Michigan.
Collins went the European route at Temple, signing two offensive linemen from Sweden in the 2018 class. He had procured a commitment from a third before taking the Tech job.
In December 2017, in an interview with USA Today, Collins explained his European strategy with a rationale that may sound familiar to Tech fans. When Collins was defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs typically lost recruiting battles for the elite prospects to SEC powerhouses.
So, he focused on finding players with the right physical attributes that he could develop over four years and in looking in places that others weren’t, a practice he continued at Temple. The competition is looking for the pedigreed high schools, coaches and backgrounds, he said.
“And that’s all fine and good,” he said. “But everybody’s going after those. So we have to find another niche to differentiate ourselves.”
The relationship with Collier is one to protect. Since his service – PPI Recruits – was founded in 2017, 17 prospects that he has worked with have signed FBS scholarships. Perhaps Collier’s most valuable service for both prospects and college coaches is his “DreamChasers Tour,” in which he brings several prospects to the U.S. in the summer for combine-style camps.
One of the stops last year was at Temple, which is where Yondjouen met Collins. It won’t be a surprise if Collins is a presence next summer for Collier’s camp, at his differentiating best.
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