MORGANTOWN — A couple of days ago, new West Virginia football coach Neal Brown probably didn’t know much about Jairo Faverus.
Well, Brown 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 Faverus’ Twitter account.
“Beyond exited to announce that I have received an offer from West Virginia University!!” his tweet read, tagging @NealBrown_WVU, @Coach_Addae (assistant coach Jahmile Addae), @PPIRecruits and @BCollier56 (Brandon Collier).
Certainly, you are familiar with Brown and Addae, but the other two references are probably — if can pardon the pun — foreign to you.
Premium Players International 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. However, former WVU quarterback and former university athletic director Oliver Luck probably ought to be singled out for his role in this new phenomena, as well.
Luck was general manager of the Frankfort Galaxy of the World League of American in Germany and then became President of the Rhein Fire before taking over the league and running it for the NFL. Luck helped 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. In 2013, Collier moved to Europe to coach and help with football there and came across a number of quality players he felt could earn American football scholarships.
Interestingly, Collier played collegiate football at UMass just a couple of years after Brown finished his own 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 the Associated Press, Collier’s tour has grown to 29 players who have been doing the camp tour in America since May 30, making stops at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame in addition to 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 said in the article. “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 Saban, head coach of Alabama’s football team, wanted to see him.
His reaction? A nervous “Uh, ho.”
“He said they wanted more information to see who I am,” Faverus said. “They didn’t really know who I was until I was at their camp.”
Faverus’ offer of a football scholarship 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!” Collier 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.
Welschof 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, Welschof 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.
Meanwhile, Faverus’ commitment for 2020 isn’t binding at WVU until he signs on signing day.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter at @bhertzel.