Bollinger commits to Delaware
There was no elaborate reveal or last-minute drama.
Deven Bollinger had made up his mind long ago. And the Northwestern senior was certain it was the right choice.
Bollinger made it official Wednesday, signing a national letter of Intent to continue his academic and football career at the University of Delaware. With only one school on his mind, Bollinger needed just one hat in front of him on the table.
“That moment, I don’t get into hats, but that’s kind of the thing everyone does,” Bollinger said with a laugh. “You see that on TV, with the big signings on ESPN, where they pick one up, put it to the side and put on another one. Obviously, it was kind of known where I was going.
“But that was a cool thing, for a recruit to do that, to sign and put the hat on. That was a cool experience.”
Bollinger has earned the opportunity during a record-setting career with the Tigers. After passing for 1,998 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushing for 881 yards and 16 scores as a junior, Bollinger built on those numbers this past season, throwing for 2,105 yards and 35 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns He led the team to a Colonial League title and the semifinals of the District 11 Class 4A playoffs for the second year in a row.
“First of all, it’s an awesome experience for him to go through the entire recruiting process,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder. “All the coaches coming into the school, spending time with him and myself and then getting to know the family. And the process of being a quarterback recruit is pretty rigorous. A lot of schools like Delaware only recruited one, and Deven was that guy this year once he committed. They want to really make sure that he’s the guy that they want, and he was such a great fit for Delaware. He went down to camp, had a couple visits, had an official visit, and the coaches have been in constant contact. The dialogue back and forth has been awesome. It means so much for him and his family to be getting a scholarship to Delaware.
“Not only that, but the impact he had on this community, this football team, his peers and the youth organizations is just an awesome legacy to leave. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
With Bollinger at the controls, the Tigers averaged 37.5 points per game in 2018 and 38.6 ppg. this past season.
The reality of signing with a Division I program began to hit Bollinger as he shared the moment with friends, family, administrators and coaches.
“It’s kind of always been a dream of mine to play at the college level,” he said. “I remember playing youth football – 85-pound football – and it’s kind of always been a thing I’ve had in the back of my mind and been working toward. It’s a great feeling today, kind of having that put aside and being able to look forward to the next chapter, what I’ve been working for. Obviously, you always want to make it to the next level. That’s the next goal; can’t stop now. I’ve been working toward this since I was seven or eight years old, so it’s been a long time coming.”
Bollinger is eager to take the necessary steps to be ready to play when his number is called.
“I need to put on weight, that’s kind of the big thing right now. They want me around 230, 235 pounds and to be able to play at the weight,” said Bollinger, who was listed at 6-5, 210 on the Tigers’ roster this season. “That will kind of be my main focus down there – getting bigger, faster and stronger. That’s a huge thing at the college level, everyone is a lot bigger, a lot faster.
“And the mental aspect of it, too, just learning the offense. It’s very similar to what we run here, a spread offense, a lot of read options, inside zone, outside zone, that kind of stuff. We talked about it a little bit during my official visit, the formations and typical things they run there, and it seemed pretty close to what we run here, so I feel like that should make it a slightly easier transition. But the big thing for me during my first year is understanding the offense and putting on weight.”
As skilled in the classroom as he is on the football field, Bollinger noted that he plans to study Biology once he enrolls at Delaware.
On the field, Bollinger will redshirt his freshman season, in which he will pay half tuition. After that, he will be on a full scholarship.
Bollinger has had great tutelage under Snyder, who played at Lehigh University.
“The coaching staff here has prepared me for the next level,” said Bollinger. “Obviously, Coach Snyder played at the next level, so he knows what it takes. I’m very grateful to have played under him. He knows how it works, how it goes, and I’m very thankful for that.”
In addition to his coaches, Bollinger has also had unwavering support from his family and friends throughout the process.
“It’s great moment,” he said. “Huge shoutout to my mom and dad, and my brother and sister for just helping me along the way. The support system is unbelievable at my house. I’m really thankful for that. All of my friends that are here, we’re been friends forever, so it’s really awesome to experience this with them. A lot of them I’ve played with, or some came back from last year to be here. So I’m very thankful for them. You can’t do it without a great group of guys around you.
“My grandparents are here, too. They come to everything – everything they can. I’m really grateful for them, and the coaching staff as well. It’s just been an unbelievable ride here at Northwestern, and I wouldn’t have asked for it any other way.”