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New Bears in Town: Defensive Lineman TJ Bollers

June 27, 2024

The Bears made an initial big impression on Iowa defensive lineman TJ Bollers‍, a former 2021 high 4 star prep who held offers from top programs like Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State and more but the Tiffin, Iowa native ultimately chose Wisconsin, where he spent three seasons in a backup role before entering the portal.

"Cal reached out in high school, like you were just saying," Bollers said. "I've got a great relationship with Coach Browning and the rest of the recruiting staff. I was even able to make it out on a visit in like July 2019. So I was able to come out and see for myself. That was great. It was one of the team barbecues or something and it was a really great experience. So after that, I just kind of kept a great relationship with Coach Browning and Cal. Once I committed to Wisconsin, obviously that relationship broke off. But as soon as I entered the transfer portal, Coach Browning, he was one of the first people to call me so just having that great relationship before just kind of helped me once I got in the portal."

Though Cal made a great impression on him as a prep, Bollers ultimately chose Wisconsin.

“Yeah, Wisconsin arm is where I felt most comfortable,” Bollers noted. “I mean, with COVID, and everything going on those last few months of my recruitment, I wasn't able to go on any official visits or anything like that. Yeah, but still, Wisconsin, like it felt right for me.

"My family and I really liked Cal when we came out the first time. Honestly, I just thought that Wisconsin might've been a better choice just at the beginning but Cal was up there. I really appreciated the coaches and coaching staff and the players they have in place as well. So when they came calling, it was kind of a no-brainer for me, just with the opportunities that I would have, both in school and then athletically and then also past football as well. There's a lot of great connections that I can make, just with anybody here on this campus that can help that can help me like all aspects of my life."

The perfect bay area weather is another big plus for the Iowa native.

"This weather is a lot more moderate than the Iowa and midwest summers,” Bollers noted. “Right now, it's all storms and tornadoes and stuff in Iowa. My family actually just saw one yesterday, but now, this weather has been great. I mean, I haven't seen a cloudy day yet so I can't complain."

Has Bollers had the chance to visit Cal dining staples like Top Dog or La Burrita yet?

"Oh, man. I'm lucky enough to live right by there,” Bollers said with a smile. “So I've been able to see it for myself."
Cool. So your dad was running back in college?

Football runs in the Bollers family with father Trevor having played fullback for Iowa collegiately. Though his father went through a similar process, he made sure he son would be free to choose the destination he felt best for himself, though he provided a bit of advice here and there.

"I guess a little bit but a lot of what he told me was that this process is ongoing," Bollers said. "And he always told me when I started to be recruited, his mom had gone to him and said, ‘Make sure you let the boy make his own decision’ so that was something that that he held very close to him. He let me make my own decision going through this entire process but he was there with me every step of the way. My whole family was with me every step of the way, for both recruitment processes. So he didn't really have a big say, and obviously, recruiting was very different back then than recruiting is now but they were great, helping me out through the entire thing."

So far, the new Bears’ transition to Cal has been smooth sailing.

"It's been awesome," Bollers exclaimed. "Honestly, I love the guys here. I feel like I really fit in well to this locker room and into this program so I'm excited to keep on growing these relationships."

The former 4 star defender is currently enrolled in two summer courses and has enjoyed them so far.

"I want to do something with journalism," Bollers said. "I was doing broadcasting at Wisconsin so hopefully something along those lines."

As for this season, Bollers is looking forward to taking advantage on his new lease on life in a new setting to jump-start his collegiate career.

"I'm most looking forward to running out of that tunnel for the first time and just having this new opportunity is great," Bollers said. "And I appreciate all the hard work and effort that people have put into getting me here and helping me be successful."

Stay tuned on more from Cal’s summer arrivals in days and weeks to come.

Tags: TJ Bollers
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