When Brandon Collier made a trip to Clemson with several high school football players in the summer of 2019, he didn’t have any prospects at the talent level that Clemson recruits to.
But that trip could help Clemson land a prospect that the Tigers are after now.
Collier is the founder of PPI Recruits — a company that connects European football players with American universities. He first heard from Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables a couple of years ago through Twitter.
Venables told Collier that if he was ever in the area to stop by. Collier, who lives in Germany, was in America on the East Coast in the spring of 2019 and reached out to Venables. Collier went on a tour of Clemson’s facilities with Venables and recruiting coordinator Todd Bates. He also met Dabo Swinney on a trip that he describes as “great.”
A couple of months later, Collier returned to Clemson for a camp as Collier took a group of several European players around the country to camp at different schools.
Even though Collier didn’t have any players who Clemson was interested in at the time, the experience could not have gone any better.
“It was the best visit. We visited over 20 schools that summer and the kids all said it was hands down the best visit that they ever had,” Collier told ClemsonSports.com.
“Just the culture that they’ve got there and the type of love that they showed international kids. We didn’t have any kids visit that was potentially a Clemson type of kid, and they still showed us love as if we had a bunch of five stars. That culture kind of speaks for itself.”
Collier told Venables then that if he ever worked with a player who was a top recruit, he would make sure the recruit knew about the coaches and the culture at Clemson.
“I told him, ‘One day we’ll be back with a kid that fits y’all’s standards,’” Collier recalled. “Two years later here we go now.”
That “kid” is defensive lineman Hero Kanu.
Clemson offered the 6-footo-5, 290+ pound prospect last Friday after a conversation with members of Clemson’s coaching staff that lasted more than an hour, according to Collier.
“He was almost in tears how passionate the call was and how excited he was,” said Collier, who spoke with Kanu shortly after he got off the phone with Clemson coaches. “He knows the stature of what Clemson is and how much of a powerhouse that is and what type of culture they’ve got.”
Kanu’s mom is German and father is Nigerian. He grew up playing soccer until he was 14, when he was introduced to football.
Kanu has been working with Collier for about 18 months now. Collier helped him land at Santa Margarita High in California, where he is playing football this spring.
Kanu had never played in an organized football game until a few weeks ago. He has 19 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback pressures and a sack in his first three games. He now holds offers from LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, Southern Cal and others, in addition to Clemson.
“He has power, strength, agility. He’s one of those kids that you see at Clemson or another blue-blood program, a kid who potentially goes first round,” Collier said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but that’s the type of ability he has.”
The class of 2022 prospect still has plenty of room to grow as a player as the sport is still so new to him. Clemson very well could be the place where he’s developed at the next level.
Kanu is already working on scheduling a visit to Clemson, according to Collier.
“I don’t know exactly the decision he’s going to make, but I guarantee they’ll be in the top 1, 2 or 3, for sure. Just based on the culture there and the type of program there,” he said. “He’s watched all of our videos that we had from the tour and every kid fell in love with it. He knows what type of offer that is.”