TIFFIN, Ia. — T.J. Bollers began creating buzz in eastern Iowa in eighth grade, dominating his competition from just about every position.
The chatter was that if he kept his head down and worked, this kid could be special.
So far, so good.
After becoming the youngest player to ever make the Register’s Iowa Eight, Bollers has helped lead Clear Creek Amana to a 5-0 start and No. 6 ranking in the Register’s latest Class 3A top 10. He’s got 19.5 tackles, seven solo tackles for loss and two solo sacks, along with eight catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
He already held offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska (plus interest from all around the Midwest) before this season. Now, Penn State is the latest school to reach out.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot,” Bollers, who’s already 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, told the Register. “Obviously, there’s still a lot more room to grow because I’m just a sophomore. I’ve got plenty of learning to do. I’m just learning every day, just playing my game.”
Bollers, who plays all over but is being recruited at defensive end, really came into his own during CCA’s final game last year, when he had 4.5 tackles and two solo sacks in a 29-14 win over Central DeWitt. That momentum carried over into a productive offseason on the camp circuit and now into his sophomore year.
He’s quick to credit everyone around him for his success. His teammates, his coaches and trainers — even Mr. Hutch, the audio guy at CCA’s home stadium. Above all, Bollers said his family helps him stay grounded while he keeps piling up attention.