Brandon Collier/Premier Players International
Premier Players International founder and CEO Brandon Collier, standing second to the left in the second row, brought 24 players from Europe on the organization's second DreamChasers tour of college football camps.

Michigan signing Julius Welschof opens door for more European recruits

Brandon Collier’s first tour of American football camps created curious coaches. It also introduced Michigan to German defensive end Julius Welschof.

Collier’s second DreamChasers tour with European prospects from Premier Players International was met with more interest and less skepticism. It could lead to Michigan again dipping into a budding pool of talent for the 2019 class and beyond.

Michigan coaches were introduced to Julius Welschof at a camp last year. The German native signed with the Wolverines as part of the 2018 class. (Kevin Goheen/Land of 10)

“Last year was good. This year was great,” said Collier, founder and CEO of PPI. “Julius was the main one, him and Zavier Scott, who went to UConn. I get asked about them two a lot. It definitely paid dividends having those two guys, especially Julius going to Michigan. A lot of coaches knew about him. It made it a lot easier with this class and opened up doors for the future generation of kids coming through our program.”

PPI recently wrapped up its tour that included a trip to Michigan on June 18. Collier said he had 24 players come to the USA this year, up from 14 last year. The tour began on May 31 and concluded June 21, although not all players stayed the entire three weeks. PPI players participated in 10 camps and visited a total of 16 colleges, Collier told Land of 10.

Quarterback Luke Wentz and tackle Kariem Al Soufi, both from Germany, committed to Virginia during the tour.

“Out of the 24, 12 of them came back with Division I scholarship offers and I think six or seven more will get offers pretty soon,” Collier said.,

Michigan hasn’t made any offers to those players but there is interest, particularly in 2019 tackle Martin Veinberg from Finland and 2019 pass rusher Sylvain Yondjouen from Belgium. Collier said coach Jim Harbaugh also spoke to him regarding 2019 Swedish offensive lineman Anton Oskarsson and 2020 German quarterback Alexander Honig.

Veinberg is 6-foot-9, 320 pounds and has offers from Nebraska and Florida, among others. Yondjouen (6-4, 232) is an outside linebacker who is getting more attention since the tour.

PPI’s mission is to grow the game of American football in Europe while providing opportunities to athletes. Collier said he believes several of these players would be rated as 4- or 5-star recruits if they were American or Canadian prospects.

Welschof was widely unknown to college recruiters before the 2017 tour. Collier played defensive line at Massachusetts, where his position coach was current Wolverines’ defensive coordinator Don Brown. That relationship helped open the door to Welschof signing with Michigan last December.

RELATED: How Julius Welschof became a German Wolverine

Welschof had been committed to Georgia Tech, but Michigan offered him late in the process and got him to flip.

Brown is quick to warn people not to use the term “project” when describing Welschof. Collier said he thinks Welschof will benefit from the new NCAA rule that allows players to participate in up to four games and still retain a redshirt season.

“My expectations for Julius are as high as they’ve ever been,” Collier said. “I think the kid will be a star at Michigan someday. I don’t know how his first year will go because of him coming in late and they’re returning two of the better D-ends in the country, but with him learning from Rashan Gary and Chase [Winovich], I think going into his sophomore year he’ll definitely be a player on that team.”

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