TIFFIN, Ia. — The phone relentlessly chirped for a solid 30 minutes straight — so intensely that T.J. Bollers had to shut the ringer off. The East Coast wave got an hour advantage in the earlier time zone. Coaches across the country poured in soon after, once their window officially opened.
Sept. 1 is like Christmas morning for elite college football recruiters, who must wait until that day of a prospect’s junior year before they can initiate contact. When the calendar flipped into the ninth month, Bollers and his family were trekking back from Nashville, having just kickstarted a hectic fall with a Vanderbilt visit. The constant flow of texts, Twitter messages and more punctuated the 600-mile trek back to Tiffin.
“There were so many messages,” Bollers said with a laugh.
So it goes when living this coveted recruiting life. Clear Creek Amana’s 2021 standout is currently knee-deep in an unforgettable, but intense, process that’s brought suitors from all corners of America, literally. Earlier this fall, Bollers landed offers from places 3,000 miles apart — Washington and Florida — in the same week. Pile those on top of opportunities from almost every Midwest Power Five school.
RV excursions and campus visits have peppered the football season. A commitment is likely months, or even a year, away — understandable, given how thoroughly the Bollers crew has handled this life-altering decision. With overall intelligence matching the football prowess, there are countless aspects to consider.
Though chaotic at times, Bollers’ vintage smile and grounded approach haven’t wavered. That’s been imperative, considering this journey still has plenty of miles ahead.
“It’s been surreal,” said Trevor Bollers, T.J.’s father. “You don’t walk in the house and see letters from Stanford, Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia and more sitting on the table and go, ‘Oh, hey, it’s another day in paradise.’ You go, ‘Holy cow — wow.’ You get that lump in your throat like, ‘I didn’t realize it was going to be like this.’
“We thought, ‘Hey, we’ll work our butts off and do what we can to get him the best opportunities that he can get.’ We didn’t realize it was going to balloon into this.”