The Huskers once again hosted several 2021 targets for the matchup with Indiana. They have done a good job since Coach Scott Frost and his staff took over of hosting important targets from future classes. It will be hard to find many prospects who are more important to Nebraska than 4-star (HV Rating: 91.1) outside linebacker TJ Bollers for the class of 2021.
Had a great time at Nebraska yesterday with my coach @CoachBakker and my boy Joey! Thanks @coach_frost @CoachChinander and the rest of the staff for the invite‼‼ #GBR @SeanDillonNU @Callaghan_NEB @HuskerFBNation pic.twitter.com/lD7hfVWNpT
— TJ Bollers (@tj35ballin) October 28, 2019
This weekend was the fourth time Bollers has been to Lincoln since last season. Still, there is always a good feeling when the Iowa native makes his way to Memorial Stadium.
“Overall it was just great to be back,” Bollers said. “It was super exciting. The game and the atmosphere. Even before the game, it’s hard to describe it. It’s just so much. The place is buzzing. Everything that we did just had kind of a different feel to it. In a good way though.”
One new thing for Bollers this time around was a tour of campus. He showed up to Lincoln early to be able to do that tour and the opportunity to see the dorms and academic buildings was a real highlight for him. After th campus tour, he was able to hang out in the team lounge playing shuffleboard and pool with other recruits.
Once he got on the field for pre-game warmups, he was a focal point for Nebraska’s staff. He was able to go out to midfield where he spent time with commits Teddy Prochazka and Turner Corcoran again. Bollers spoke with defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and defensive line coach Tony Tuioti.
Yet it was the message from Frost that really got him thinking.
“At first, it’s laid back [with Frost] and he’s asking how I’m doing just making sure I’m alright,” Bollers said. “As the conversation gets closer to the end he gets more serious. He said, ‘Hey, you know what, all this in the stadium, all these people here could be cheering for you in a couple years. If you come here and become that elite pass rusher we need, then you’ll be able to make a difference. These people will be screaming for you.’
“It’s stuff like that. It’s the same thing with like Teddy [Prochazka] and Blaise [Gunnerson], plus Coach Chinander. All those guys are trying to recruit me. For Teddy and Blaise, it’s more like friend recruiting but that’s usually what it’s like.”
Bollers has visited Vanderbilt, Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Kansas State this season. But when a coach like Frost has that message for him, it does hit differently.
“It makes me feel important,” Bollers said. “If I’m being honest, it makes you want to commit on the spot. But you know I still have a lot of my process to go through. Nebraska is still one of my front runner schools. I’ll be there for an official for sure. But after those [official visits] it’s going to be the hardest decision of my life I can tell you that.”
The Clear Creek Amana star gave Hail Varsity insight into why college decisions can be so hard. It’s all about the relationships built over time.
“Iowa State was my first offer. I’ve known those guys the longest,” he said. “It was one of the first places I visited. I feel at home at Iowa State. I go to Iowa and I feel home there. It literally is my home because I’m five minutes away from there. I go to Nebraska and I feel at home. I go to Wisconsin and feel like home. All these places, it’s like, ‘Wow, I really feel important here.’ You don’t want to break down those walls after taking years to build them.”
It can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly will make a school separate itself from the pack. Academics will play a large role for Bollers. Beyond that he is still thinking things through because each of his top schools has what he is looking for.
Bollers’ mom (and the family RV) didn’t make it back for this trip. He was joined by his head coach and his friend Joey. It was the first time Joey had been to a game as a guest. He was blown away by what he saw in Lincoln.
“Being in Memorial Stadium with 89,000 or however many fans were at the game all screaming for one team and all the energy and passion and support that surrounds the one team is absolutely insane,” Bollers said. “He [Joey] was going crazy. I have a video of him and he was star struck just looking around at this place he’s never seen before. He could feel the passion and energy the fans have for the team.”
For the rest of this season Bollers will make return trips to Iowa State and Wisconsin. Before he knows it, official visits will be taking place since he’s planning to take them in the spring/summer. Yet, the decision timeline is not quite set yet.
“That’s been the topic of a lot of the conversations in our house,” Bollers said. “I’m not really sure. Ideas have bounced around. It can be the first game of the football season. It could be the summer sometime. It could be on senior night when everyone is announcing where they are going to college. Or it could even be on signing day.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.