Wisconsin's class of 2021 continues to grow impressively with the addition of outside linebacker T.J. Bollers on Thursday afternoon.
247Sports, Rivals and ESPN all rate Bollers as a four-star recruit. 247Sports composite rankings designate the Tiffin (IA) Clear Creek Amana product as the No. 147 player overall and No. 8 weak-side defensive end in the nation.
Rivals ranks him the highest out of the three recruiting services as the No. 98 player in the country. It also reports 21 offers for the newest Badger commit, which includes Power Five opportunities from Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State, Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.
Bollers confirmed with AllBadgers.com earlier in the spring that Wisconsin projects him as an outside linebacker. Helping us breakdown his junior Hudl film -- which includes highlights of him playing on offense -- and just what he could bring to UW is John Garcia Jr., Sports Illustrated's director of football recruiting:
It's not every day you see a defensive line prospect working in all three phases of football on Friday nights, but T.J. Bollers does. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds or so, he does a little bit of everything at the prep level, but there's no question about where he may line up on a college football Saturday in the front seven. He is broad at his size with room to add weight down the line, but currently plays as a productive prep defensive end with occasional defensive tackle flashes in between.
Bollers is fairly quick relative to his size, able to replace himself in between gaps as much as he can scream downhill as a classic edge type. Strong lateral ability exists here, especially against interior blockers. He is just too quick for them on the inside, able to shoot the gap and simply beat blockers to the punch. Upon arrival, there is some short-area pop and explosion upon contact, leading to finishing power against quarterbacks or ball carriers in the backfield.
On the hoof, Bollers has the build and athleticism to work inside out on Friday nights and the frame to eventually do the same on Saturdays. He's already a leverage winner who can redirect while engaged at well above the normal clip for a high school prospect. He is very comfortable with inside moves, in particular, showing above-average technique to pair with strong movement out of his stance. He can play effective football in different alignments and even out of 4-point stance with examples littered throughout his 2019 tape.
Athletically, Bollers plays with minimal wasted movement between the snap and the ball carrier. He travels with a reckless abandon for his body, yet with control on a linear path. The overall athleticism is also on display in the other phases, including on offense as a pass catcher. He runs well and tracks the football with some power and drive thereafter. Attacks defenders with great balance and control as a blocker in that true tight end role, too.
It doesn't take a ton of imagination to see him ascend towards a rock solid role as a starting contributor. There is some scheme versatility to keep him on the field regardless of down and distance with upside as an edge setter with occasional pass rush prowess -- traits any defense can utilize in the pass-heavy climate of college football.