International Recruiting Ramps Up At WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A couple of days ago, I’m not sure Neal Brown, West Virginia’s new football coach, knew much about Jairo Faverus.
He does now.
On Saturday, Faverus, a cornerback out of England by way of Amsterdam, received an offer to play football for WVU following a one-day camp, according to a post on his Twitter account.
“Beyond exited to announce that I have received an offer from West Virginia University!!” it read, tagging @NealBrown_WVU … @Coach_Addae … @PPIRecruits … @BCollier56
Certainly, you are familiar with Neal Brown and his assistant, Jahmile Addae, but the other two references are probably — if can pardon the pun — foreign to you.
Premium Players International (PPI) Recruits is a group that is beginning to make inroads on college football recruiting with European prospects, and Brandon Collier is the man behind it, although former WVU quarterback and athletic director Oliver Luck probably ought to be singled out for his role in this new phenomenon, too.
Luck, you see, first was general manager of the Frankfort Galaxy of the World League of American Football in Gemany and then became President of the Rhein Fire before taking over the league and running it for the NFL, helping to popularize the sport in Europe to the point that there is now talk of putting an NFL franchise there.
PPI was founded by Collier in 2017 after playing in the NFL and Canadian Football League, moving to Europe in 2013 to coach and helping with football there. He came across a number of quality players he felt could earn scholarhips in the U.S.
Interestingly, Collier played his collegiate football at UMass just a couple of years after Neal Brown finished up his playing career there.
He set up a network of scouting and development camps and did all he could to get publicized throughout Europe. The first year Collier landed 13 scholarships for players.
He also set up a DreamChasers Tour which is in progress now in the U.S.
According to an Associated Press story his tour has grown to 29 players who are doing the camp tour here since May 30, making stops at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame as well as West Virginia.
“My end goal I said two years ago was one day I’ll be in Nick Saban’s office and it kind of happened,” Collier told the AP. “So it’s kind of a surreal moment. I mean I had goose bumps.”
So, too, apparently, did Faverus, a 6-foot, 190-pound 20-year-old.
After a workout, Faverus was told that Nick Saban wanted to see him.
A nervous “Uh oh.”
And what did Saban want?
“He said they wanted more information to see who I am. They didn’t really know who I was until I was at their camp,” Faverus said.
Faverus shows just how far Collier’s project has come in three years.
“I remember last year coaches told me they won’t take a European corner, now a year later my phone is ringing mostly about some European corners!” he tweeted.
There really is growing interest in his prospects, perhaps egged on by the success European athletes have had on the NBA and because major programs seem to be interested in reaping this crop.
A couple of years ago Bruce Feldman, the national football writer, wrote about the recruitment of Julius Welschof, a linebacker from Germany who is now at Michigan and redshirted last season.
Welshof was really Collier’s first stud, a player on a club team in Munich who stood 6-5 weighed 250 and ran a 4.5 40, according to the resume he sent Collier.
Showcased in the United States, he drew a lot of offers, originally committed to Georgia Tech, then switched to Michigan where, if he can develop, it would really increase interest in Collier’s group.