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36 PRESEASON 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL P rince Kollie's mental reset mech- anism encircles his left wrist. It's a trick he picked up from some of Notre Dame's older linebackers. Kollie, a sophomore linebacker, wears a black rubber band with the words "Refuse to lose" inscribed in yellow lettering. Whenever he needs to flush a bad rep in practice, a tough assign- ment in class, wandering feelings that question if he's in the best place for him — anything, really — he sticks a finger between his wrist and the band, pulls it taut and lets it snap back on his arm. Reset. Refocus. The way Kollie describes his first col- lege season, one wonders if he's on his second band. Kollie arrived in June 2021 as one of the most decorated recruits in his high school class. He was a top-100 pros- pect, per the On3 Consensus. He won the high school Butkus Award — the same honor former Irish linebackers Manti Te'o and Jaylon Smith earned before winning the college version. Al- abama, Georgia, LSU and Texas were among his 30-plus scholarship offers. Those are the type of prospects who most often make meaningful freshman- year impacts. Kollie's first year, though, was a slog and struggle to the point of con- sidering a second year elsewhere. Those growing pains and wandering thoughts are hardly atypical of Notre Dame fresh- men. Ask most veterans on the team, and they'll say anyone who claims happiness that first year is fibbing or starting. "They're lying or they're Kyle Hamil- ton," Kollie said this spring. Here's Kollie now, though, sounding like a vet himself. He cleared those speed bumps and is in position to claim a rota- tion spot in Notre Dame's linebacker unit thanks to an impressive spring practice showing and strong start to fall camp (a concussion knocked him out for a few days this month). His first year is a tale many of his freshman teammates are likely enduring right now. He's also an example of how to face adversity head on and come out on the other side. "It's tough, because you can defi- nitely not do well one day and lose some confidence," Kollie said. "But once you learn that you're good, your ability is there and everyone makes mistakes, you'll be level all the time." Kollie, who recorded 14 tackles in 10 games last year, is primed to be part of Notre Dame's linebacker rotation this season. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER LASER FOCUSED Sophomore linebacker Prince Kollie is ready to help Notre Dame's defense after pushing through Year 1 struggles

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