Current Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and future Notre Dame linebacker Prince Kollie gave Notre Dame a sweet of the Butkus Award on Monday. Koramoah taking home the award as the best backer in college football, and Kollie doing the same on the prep level marking the second time in the last eight years Notre Dame had the college and high school Butkus Award winners in the same year.
In 2012, Manti Te’o became Notre Dame’s first every Butkus Award winner, while Jaylon Smith was the high school Butkus winner. Smith won the college Butkus Award three years later before leaving for the NFL.
JOK’s Butkus campaign started in earnest last January with a dominating performance in the Camping World Bowl, which landed him on ESPN’s All-Bowl team. The hype began to build for JOK from their with NFL Draft pundits like Todd McShay labeling him a 1st round pick.
Owusu-Koramoah backed up the hype on the field this fall. He led Notre Dame in tackles with 56 and TFL with 11.0. He also forced three fumbles, recovered two, and recorded the first INT of his career. JOK’s fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first Clemson game swung the momentum in Notre Dame’s favor. He had 9 tackles overall, including 0.5 for loss in Notre Dame’s upset of then #1 ranked Clemson.
The other finalists for the Butkus Award included: Nick Bolton (Missouri), Zaven Collins (Tulsa), Devin Lloyd (Utah), and Monty Rice (Georgia). Later in the day, JOK was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Prince Kollie was a bit under-recruited last year at this time but saw his profile rise with a prolific season. He posted 109 tackles on defense while rushing for 1,562 yards on offense. He also posted 2.0 sacks and an interception. Throughout his senior campaign, he saw his rankings skyrocket. 247 Sports has him ranked #91 overall in their own rankings and #153 in their composite rankings.
Notre Dame had to scramble a bit last week to keep Kollie in their 2021 recruiting class after news broke just days before Signing Day that Clark Lea was leaving Notre Dame to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. The Irish quickly reminded Kollie why he selected Notre Dame in the first place, but other programs smelled blood in the water and tried to pounce. Luckily for the Irish, they were unsuccessful because Notre Dame has one hell of a prospect on its hands with Kollie.
It’s pretty remarkable to think that Notre Dame has produced three Butkus Award winners in the last nine seasons after years of lacking impact backers. That isn’t the case any longer, however, and it seems clear that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will hear his name called very early in the 2021 NFL Draft and that Kollie could follow in the footsteps of he and Smith at Notre Dame.