Recruiting mailbag: Is Iowa football close to offering in-state 2021 standout T.J. Bollers?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Let's get right to your questions this week.

Clear Creek Amana's T.J. Bollers runs plays during practice on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.

Any insight on when Iowa might offer TJ Bollers? It appears that his recruitment is picking up. – @TravisVL

Yes, T.J. Bollers' recruitment is starting to pick up.

For those of you who don't know about Bollers, do yourselves a favor and watch his film. He was a freshman standout for Tiffin's Clear Creek Amana last season, amassing 15.5 tackles and three solo sacks as a starting defensive end. He's already 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, and he also runs track and plays basketball and baseball for the Clippers.

Iowa State offered Bollers in mid-January after hosting him several months earlier in late October for a game-day visit. He has also visited Army, Indiana, Iowa and most recently Michigan, which invited him to campus on March 31. Michigan State has expressed interest, too. He's a bright kid who wants to major in engineering, and academics will factor heavily into his ultimate decision.

Bollers is a physically gifted athlete whose floor seems high. Even as a freshman, he's a legitimate Division I prospect. He was invited to the Rivals 3-stripe Camp Series in Nashville on May 13. He's also an Iowa legacy prospect, as his dad is former Iowa running back Trevor Bollers.

The Hawkeyes haven't offered yet, but they're showing plenty of interest. 

Basically, Iowa has made it clear it likes T.J. and he knows that he's always welcome on campus, Trevor said. He said Iowa hasn't given any indication of when/if it might offer, but T.J. has strong relationships with the Hawkeyes' coaches and has enjoyed his visits.

Iowa doesn't offer freshmen very often, although it does happen. It's offered four Class of 2021 prospects so far, including two defensive ends with 18 combined offers and Bettendorf defensive tackle Griffin Liddle.

When it comes to Bollers, Iowa's coaches are essentially operating on film. And while his film is good, it's only three minutes long. Unless you're absolutely dead set on offering a prospect, it's hard to base any decision off 180 seconds of film.

I think Iowa wants to get eyes on him in action at camp this summer or during the season next fall before it makes any decision regarding an early offer.

And, yes, I think an offer will eventually come.

In terms of his immediate future, Trevor told me they'll will visit Ames this weekend for spring practice.

Likely? I wouldn't say that.

For background: Tracy, a three-star cornerback out of Indianapolis' Decatur Central, was committed to Iowa before re-opening his recruitment Jan. 28 after fielding offers from Purdue and Minnesota in the previous 10 days. Since decommitting, Tracy has tacked on an offer from Cincinnati. 

A general rule in recruiting: If a kid decommits from a school, he's not going back. But, as with any rule, there are exceptions. 

No. 12 Larry Tracy makes a tackle against Plainfield.

Iowa is certainly in decent position to "re-land" Tracy. His relationships with Hawkeye coaches are still strong. His cousin, Tyrone Tracy, is still an Iowa signee. The Hawkeyes do very well in Indianapolis. And they appeared in his recently released top five alongside Purdue, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Indiana. 

But I also wouldn't hold your breath for any decision.

Tracy initially decommitted from Iowa so he could be open to all available opportunities. Then, even in his tweet announcing the top five, Tracy said his recruitment is "still open to new opportunities."

In other words: He's still waiting to see if he's got any other suitors before making his decision, and he's in no rush.

Status =  about to get crazy. (Only a slight hyperbole.)

But watch this and you tell me: 

Carton's Quad City Elite team played at NY2LA's Swish N Dish event last weekend in Wisconsin. And he balled out, showing off his "five-star potential" with thunderous dunks along with his ever-cerebral point guard play.

We're still in a dead recruiting period until Thursday, so college coaches couldn't watch Carton in person last weekend. There's a brief recruiting period from Thursday-April 18 (except for April 9-12), but things will really pick up during the final two weekends of April (19-22, 27-29), when the NCAA-certified AAU tournaments begin.

The adidas Gauntlet starts out in Indianapolis, and most other circuits — including Carton's NY2LA circuit — begin in Dallas. 

So be prepared to see plenty of news out of Texas about the lefty Bettendorf point guard in a couple weeks. He's going to field at least new offers this offseason. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I could see him winding up in the Big East or ACC — a Xavier or Virginia, the latter of which he's told me has expressed interest.

Iowa and Iowa State are in the picture. The Hawkeyes are a serious contender among his current crop of offers, as they've made it clear to Carton he is a top 2019 priority. The Cyclones are a little behind, as they only offered last month. But they've got a whole offseason to catch up if Carton rises to the top of their board.

Carton is a four-star player and the No. 48 2019 prospect in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite. 

I fully expect him to at least crack the top 40. And five stars isn't out of the question.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.