Bollers, a highly-rated college recruit, keeps his training up, attitude hopeful during pandemic

T.J. Bollers works a punching bag in the garage at his home in Tiffin with his dad, Trevor...
T.J. Bollers works a punching bag in the garage at his home in Tiffin with his dad, Trevor Bollers. The highly-rated college football prospect is keeping his training going during the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Scott Saville/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: May. 19, 2020 at 10:20 PM CDT
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One of the top high school football players in the state, T.J. Bollers, of Clear Creek Amana, starts his day at 6:00 am working at Fareway in Tiffin.

The novel coronavirus didn’t change his mind about working at the grocery store.

"A lot of people are scared sometimes to come out to the store," Bollers said. "For the people that do come out, we just try to keep them protected and just make it as easy for them as possible."

Bollers is taking care of the customers at work and then is mindful of his family's concerns at home.

"You know we put down strict rules and guidelines, our expectations of how he would act once he came home," Jennifer Bollers, T.J.'s mom, said. "Don’t wear anything into this house that you wore into the store. Wear your mask, follow the guidelines, and stuff like that. And, then also follow what we are saying."

After a full day's shift at Fareway, TJ does online schooling and then hits the gym. Or, now it's the garage, because of the pandemic, for a workout with his dad, former Hawkeye football player Trevor Bollers.

"My dad, he does a great job of training me trying to keep me in shape for possibly this baseball season, but definitely for this football season," T.J. said.

T.J. is hopeful he has a senior football season in the fall, and that is one of the reasons he is working out like a madman.

"Playing a senior season at your high school with your family, and your teachers, and your friends, and the people that you’ve grown up with there to watch you, you can't really take that for granted," T.J. said. "It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Playing a senior season would be big for me, and finally saying goodbye to all those people to move on."

T.J., at 6'3" and 250 pounds, looks like a young Cassius Clay with the mitts on. He, as a defensive end, is a top 150 national recruiting prospect overall for college football from some rating services and has offers from some of the top programs in the country.

"My recruitment was nothing like we are experiencing with T.J.," Trevor said.

"You know talking with Nick Saban on the phone is not something a lot of people get to do," T.J. said.

The pandemic has also sped up the recruiting process for T.J. He has narrowed his finalists down to five schools and is really close to making a decision. We'll have a follow-up on that aspect of his story on Wednesday.