By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa football team rarely offers a scholarship to a high school freshman.
Clear Creek Amana defensive lineman T.J. Bollers is an exception.
The son of former Iowa fullback Trevor Bollers received a scholaship offer from Iowa during an unofficial visit on May 4th.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Bollers is believed to be just the fifth player in the 2021 class to receive a scholarship offer from Iowa. He described the moment when it happened in head coach Kirk Ferentz's office at the Iowa Football Complex.
“It was great,” Bollers said. “When I walked into coach Ferentz’s office I noticed my jersey number sitting on his table and I assumed I was going to get offered that day and I assumed correctly.”
Bollers appreciates that his father played fullback at Iowa from 1996-98 under Hayden Fry, and he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, But the younger Bollers also knows he doesn’t have to go to Iowa to do that.
“It means a lot that they gave me the chance to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” Bollers said of the Iowa coaches. “But playing college football will be following in his footsteps also.
“One thing coach Ferentz said to me was to make sure that I choose the place that is right for me, not for my dad or anyone else, and he made that clear. So when I make my decision three years from now it’ll be the right one for me.”
T.J. Bollers grew up a Hawkeye fan so Iowa holds a special place in his heart.
But right now, he is just enjoying the opportunity to see as many schools as possible.
Two of those schools, Iowa State and Minnesota, also have extended a scholarship offer to Bollers.
“Every hometown kid wants to be a Hawkeye,” said Bollers, who plays defensive end and tight end for his high school team. “My family has attended countless games and that’s what I grew up knowing. I right now, I get to explore Iowa and all of these other amazing campuses to find the right fit.”
Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern have also shown interest in T.J. Bollers, much to his surprise, considering he hasn't even finished his freshman year of high school yet.
“No way (did I think this would happen this early),” T.J. Bollers said. “Not even in my wildest dreams.”