2022 National Signing Day Recap: International prospects shine across DI recruiting

One of the most exciting moments for any student-athlete is receiving a scholarship offer. However, nothing is official until these same prospects put pen to paper inking their commitment to their future universities.

This year international prospects made their presence felt on a shifting college football landscape; prospects from Europe, Australia, and Africa have made their commitments official across the SEC, Big Ten, PAC-12, ACC, and other top college football conferences.

A long list of four and three-star prospects have been racking up scholarship offers from blue chip programs as the beautiful game of American football grows across the world.

Headlining this year’s class is former AFI All-Europe player Olaus Alinen of Finland who officially committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide this week. The 6’6 300-lb offensive tackle is rated a four-star prospect, and is seen as the greatest prospect to ever come out of Finland, and perhaps Europe. The son of a Finnish Football hall of Famer and former NFL Europe player, Alinen looks to be an impact blocker on Nick Saban’s offensive line this fall. 

The other star of this class is fellow Scandinavian, four-star offensive tackle Lucas Simmons who officially committed to Florida State. The Swedish Under Armour All-American was one of the more sought-after offensive line prospects in this year’s class. His long arms and 6’8 frame give him the potential to be a pro-ready in as little as three seasons.  The nation’s ninth ranked offensive tackle played his high school football in the competitive Florida Friday night lights scene at Clearwater High School, after growing up playing basketball and soccer in Stockholm. 

British linebacker Kofi Taylor-Barrocks, a three-star prospect from the UK’s NFL Academ, will follow Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado, joining NCAA stars such as Travis Hunter and Sheduer Sanders in what will be one of college football’s most watched teams next season.  Meanwhile, his teammate in England, Peter Clarke, a three star tight end, made his official commitment to the Temple Owls. After one season at Garden City Community College 6 ‘9″ offensive lineman and NFL Academy alumni Freddie Pelling signed with Hawaii. Another Brit, defensive tackle Dimitri Madden, committed to UTEP after spending two seasons in Junior College at New Mexico Military Institute.

Jim Harbuagh of Michigan continues to recruit well internationally signing defensive end Aymeric Koumba of France. Harbaugh has recruited Martin Klein, David Ojabo, and Julius Welchof out of Europe before and seems to be making a habit of pursuing Europe’s top players. 

Besides Alinen, Scandinavian talents such Thomas Collins of Sweden’s RIG Academy, made his commitment to the Oregon State Beavers, choosing them over schools like Coastal Carolina and FAU.

A teammate of Collins at RIG is running back Oliver Lundberg Coleman who remains just a verbal committed to Western Kentucky after averaging over nine yards a carry for the Tyresö Royal Crowns. The Swedish running back still have until February to sign his National Letter of Intent with the Hilltoppers.

In Germany, several players made their official commitments. Offensive lineman Hannes Hammer chose Virginia Tech while pass rusher Max Stege chose the blue turf at Boise State. 6’7 edge defender Bruno Dall made his commitment to the Akron Zips, while fellow German pass rusher and Marius Landfeld remains unsigned for the time being with offers from Georgia State and Southern Utah. Lukas Majer also remains unsigned after receiving offers from Georgia Southern, Umass, and Louisiana Monroe. Other German prospects like Lukas Witt and Godson Ajoku are committed to Ivy League schools Yale and Dartmouth respectively.

Staying in Europe, three-star Serbian offensive lineman Nikola Milovac signed with South Florida. The 6’6″ pass blocker is the latest in a string of Serbian offensive line prospect making their way to the NCAA following in the footsteps of Boston College tackle Ilija Krajnovic and Virginia Tech’s Danijel Miletic.

Out of Senegal, defensive lineman Mamadou Cissokho remains only a verbal to the Liberty Flames even with the recent departure of head coach Hugh Freeze. The 6’5″ 290-pound athlete has no football experience but an abundance of athletic ability and was also recruited by Oregon. However, he did sign his national letter of intent this week, leaving some wondering what the next step is for the talented athlete. Either way, Cissokho still has until February to sign with an NCAA team.

Down under, Aussie punters make up a large portion of international recruits. The punting class is led by Hudson Kaak (Oklahoma State) and Keelan Crimmins (Mississippi State). Just west, Kiwi track star Eddie Osei-Nketia committed to Hawaii as he looks to transition from track and field to football. 

Special thanks to Immo Osterkamp of Gridiron Imports for helping with this article.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and