Iowa Eight football: Clear Creek Amana DE T.J. Bollers is what 'a lot of schools are looking for'
School: Clear Creek Amana
Weight: 225 pounds
Position: Defensive end
Key stats: As a freshman starter on varsity last year, Bollers amassed 15.5 tackles, three solo tackles for loss and three solo sacks. He also played tight end and caught 16 passes for 135 yards. He will continue to play both positions for CCA this season.
Why he's one of the Iowa Eight
Any time a kid immediately starts on varsity and produces, he's going to get noticed. But Bollers has been on the recruiting radar since his middle school days, when he'd pile up four touchdowns as a running back by halftime and sit the second half.
He is steadily improving his strength and adding to a frame that will support a high-end, Power Five pass-rusher; he was 205 pounds last fall and he's up to 225 now. He said his goal is to be around 235-240 pounds by the end of the season. It's reasonable to believe that Bollers — who is one year faster and stronger — will improve considerably at defensive end this year.
Bollers' athleticism also stands out. He also plays basketball and baseball and runs track in addition to playing football. Often last year, even though Bollers wasn't the most refined football player on the field, he was clearly the most athletic.
He impressed on the summer camp circuit, performing at Iowa, Iowa State and Notre Dame camps, in addition to camps put on by the major online recruiting services. Rivals and 247Sports haven't yet rated the Class of 2021. When they do, Bollers will likely have four stars next to his name.
Meet the Register's Iowa Eight:
- Cedar Falls linebacker Jack Campbell
- Ridge View offensive tackle Ezra Miller
- Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan
- Norwalk offensive tackle Tyler Endres
- Waverly-Shell Rock defensive end Mosai Newsom
- Southeast Polk running back Gavin Williams
- Cedar Rapids Xavier offensive lineman Josh Volk
Bollers is arguably the state's most intriguing recruit because he's already a high-level prospect, and he has barely tapped into his potential. He holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska, in addition to interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Mississippi State, Stanford, Army, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.
"(He) projects as that athletic edge rusher that a lot of schools are looking for. I'm interested to see how he takes a step forward this year. You would expect to see a much different kid — one year older, faster, stronger, everything. But I can certainly see why he'd already be considered among the best in the state."
— Allen Trieu, 247Sports Midwest recruiting analyst
What is the Iowa Eight?
The Iowa Eight is the Register’s preseason list of the eight best football prospects in the state, weighing past performance and future projection. Incoming freshmen through seniors are eligible. Selections are based on Register staff observations and consultation with high school, college and scouting contacts. The Register will have additional Iowa Eight lists for key prep boys’ and girls’ sports throughout the year.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.