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Four-Star In-State Standout T.J. Bollers Getting Down to Nitty Gritty

January 15, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

College football programs have been pursuing T.J. Bollers since he was a freshman. The Tiffin (IA) Clear Creek Amana High four-sport standout put the process of choosing a college on the back burner so he could enjoy being a teenager. Now halfway through his junior year, the time to get down to business has arrived.

“At this point in my recruitment, I’m trying to focus on the hard questions; like questions that can change my view of a school. All the places I’ve been to have already done the showing, but now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty stuff,” Bollers told HN.

Bollers raised his already impressive stock earlier this month in San Antonio at the All-American Game National Combine for the top underclassmen around the country. Most of the recruiting services named him as one of the event’s top performers. Rivals pegged him as the Defensive Line MVP.

“The San Antonio trip was awesome. I was able to go up against some of the best players around the nation and really showcase my skills,” he said.

HN featured Bollers’ story a few summers ago as he was already creating buzz around the state and beyond. His father, Trevor Bollers, played fullback for the Hawkeyes and his mother, Jennifer Bollers, also attended Iowa.

Hawkeye fans have been dreaming on T.J. Bollers’ future for years. Despite the connection, however, player and program might be moving apart.

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“As for the Hawks, I haven’t talked with them in a long time,” Bollers said Wednesday. “I would still say we have a strong relationship though.”

Iowa’s 4-3 base defense could be the fly in the ointment when it comes to the legacy recruit. But it doesn’t appear to be a deal breaker.

“I do like the thought of a 3-4 linebacker for sure. I feel like I’d fit well there based off of my body type now. I have no idea how my body is going to grow, though, and playing a certain position won’t much affect my choice,” he said.

The Hawkeyes were last in touch with Bollers during bowl prep.

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“They are still in consideration. They’re not eliminated from consideration just cause of the type of defense,” he said.

Bollers has scheduled upcoming visits to Missouri (this weekend), Nebraska (Jan. 26), Iowa State (Feb. 1) and Wisconsin (March 1). All but Missouri ran a 3-4 defensive last season. And although new Tiger head coach Eliah Drinkwitz retained coordinator Ryan Walters, the front alignment has not been named.

The Hawkeyes played host to Bollers on visits twice last season, the second time coming on Oct. 12 against Purdue. He’s been on campus a lot through the years.

While Bollers is getting closer to a decision on his college, he’s not close.

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“I’ll be making a choice after I take my official visits. I only have two scheduled (Cal on June 5, Iowa State on June 13) so far,” he said.

Rivals and 247 view Bollers as a four-star recruit and the No. 1 player overall in the state for ’21. The former pegs him as the No. 5 strong-side defensive end nationally in the class, while the latter puts him as the No. 10 weak-side defensive end.

As a junior, Bollers recorded 19 solo tackles, three sacks and four tackles for loss as a defensive end opponents avoided or to whom they dedicated more attention. He also caught 14 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver/tight end.

Here’s a look at his junior highlights:

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