PPI Recruits founder Brandon Collier talks Michigan, overseas recruiting
Brandon Collier was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but eventually moved out to Germany in 2013. That transition overseas began once he finished up with the Canadian Football League and found a new league based in Europe to continue his career.
In his first couple of years in Germany, Collier began to notice all of the young high school talent that the country annually produced that were going unnoticed by colleges in the United States.
The fact that so many of those players were looking to Collier to help them with getting an opportunity in America, he set out to create PPI Recruits in 2016, an international football recruiting service that provides global recruits with the exposure necessary to join a college football program.
Over the last six years, PPI Recruits has maintained a strong camp circuit held throughout the world in Europe, Africa, and even Australia. It's part of Collier's initiative to prove that the new wave of international players will transform the landscape of college football, similar to how it is with basketball and soccer.
Maize & Blue Review spoke with Collier about his organization, his relationship with Michigan, and who's currently with his organization that have offers from the Wolverines.
On relationship between PPI Recruits and Michigan:
"The relationship started all of the way back when Don Brown first got to Michigan because he coached me (at UMass). When he got to Michigan in 2016, that's when the relationship was formed. That's the same year that I started PPI Recruits so Michigan is sort of the team that helped me get over the hump. When they signed Julius Welschof back in 2018, that's when it took off with Michigan. Since then, it's been a couple of years that Michigan has offered one of our kids. But this year, we had three of them pick up offers. Just to see a top-five program offer three of our kids is surreal. I'm excited with what comes next."
On Julius Welschof:
"Going into this year, Julius is moving up another level by climbing the draft boards. He's projected to be a mid-round pick, I hope. I expect for him to have a big final year at Michigan. You know, for you him to play alongside Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, it kind of gave Julius some hunger to see teammates make millions. But for Julius to be at Michigan helped grow that relationship. The last couple of years, he's been able to make major contributions to the defense and special teams. Julius is pretty much the poster child of PPI Recruits. He was the first from our organization to sign with a blue-blood school. All of the current guys look up to him and they've seen the success that he's received by winning the Big Ten Championship. I was lucky enough to go to his ring ceremony to show the other guys what they can get."
On why colleges are scouting overseas prospects:
"I would say mainly, the untapped talent. In Germany, for example, you have close to 40-50 million people living there. If you just put that into perspective, you have over 300 football clubs out here. There's talent out here, for sure. You have guys with size, footwork from all of their years playing soccer, and flexibility from other sports. Like those things alone make kids out here so unique. They're very intelligent kids as well. Most of them speak two-to-three languages. Plus, their willingness and hunger to get to America is just something you can't duplicate amongst others. The raw talent here is just something that you can't coach. With Julius, for example, if you ask Michigan who's the biggest freak on the team, they'll say Julius. A kid that's 6-foot-7, weighs 285 pounds, and runs a high 4.5 40. That's who coaches want to develop and teach. So you take some of these kids out here and put them on high school teams in America, some of them would four-star or five-star guys. Coaches are starting to notice that and that's very important."
On connections with the current staff at Michigan:
"This offseason, once coach (Mike) Elston came to Michigan, that's helped out a lot because he previously signed one of our guys at Notre Dame. So we've been able to keep that relationship strong with him now at Michigan. I'm also pretty close with coach (Steve) Clinkscale and coach Harbaugh. We've talked about three or four times this offseason. I've also formed new relationships with coach (Jesse) Minter and coach (George) Helow. I've also known coach (Sherrone) Moore for some time now. I've gotten close with the entire staff pretty well, but I would say the first couple of guys who I mentioned, I'm the closest with."
On 2023 France EDGE Aymeric Koumba:
"I think (Koumba) can fit that standup EDGE rusher role like what David and Aidan had last season. It's a very, very good fit for him. He's about 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wing span. He has the athletic ability, speed, and power. Pretty much everything that you look for in a pass rusher. He's another kid where if he had been playing in America right now, he'd probably be a high four-star kid. Because of his measurements and productivity, others kids like him are four-star kids. But Michigan is one of the schools that's at the top of his list and he has a good relationship with coach Elston, who flew out once just to see him at one camp. Michigan is in a very good position with him."
On 2024 Germany LB Justin Okoronkwo:
"It's very high, man, especially being that Michigan was (Okoronkwo's) first true offer. I mean, he has interest from Alabama and Ohio State too. But it's just very high with Michigan. He has a great relationship with coach Helow and coach Elston. Honestly, I've been to about 20 camps this year and I've haven't seen one linebacker in the 2024 class that's better than him."
On 2024 Germany OL/DL Manuel Beigel:
"(Beigel) is 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds right now. With two years left of high school, there's no telling where his body is going to take him. He's played soccer for 16 years so he has really good feet. He's athletic and runs a 4.9 40. Just that alone shows you what type of skill set that the kid has. Not only Michigan, Nick Saban and Alabama invited him to his office to talk. Between Michigan, Florida, Ohio State, and Alabama, they'll be some of the top schools that he'll be choosing from. Michigan is in a high position because they were his first major offer. These kids out here are very loyal so I'm sure that Michigan is in a good spot for him."
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