Matt Rhule’s driven recruiting background is already on display. His staff at Nebraska has experience in the northeast, on the west coast, in the southeast and deep in the heart of Texas. One recruiting hotbed the staff doesn’t have direct ties to is Georgia. Although, that doesn’t mean the brand isn’t making an impression there.
Nebraska signed Gabe Ervin Jr. out of Buford High School. The program and community await his breakout. Anthony Grant also hails from Buford. He made pitstops at Florida State and New Mexico Military Institute before arriving in Lincoln. Both have younger brothers still playing at Buford. Coaches and players alike there still cheer the two and, by extension, Nebraska.
“Any success those two have had there, there’s talk in the locker room that Monday,” Buford head coach Bryant Appling told Hail Varsity this week. “That definitely piqued their interests in being out there.”
Buford is one of the strongest football programs in the country. One of their 2024 standouts, 5-star athlete KJ Bolden, found himself linked with Nebraska last weekend. He tweeted at Nebraska Director of Player Personnel Omar Hales and tagged 5-star quarterback Dylan Raiola.
Aye @Omeezi_ what’s good with #24Ours 😎 @HuskerFBNation @RaiolaDylan
— Khalil “KJ”Bolden (@KhalilBolden2) February 24, 2023
Bolden is not only a 5-star recruit, he’s one of the top five overall recruits in the country. He’s a lockdown defensive back most offenses didn’t throw towards last season. He’s also a capable receiver and return man. Bolden’s athleticism jumped out in his first high school season. As a freshman Bolden ran the 100 in 10.76, the 200 in 22.78 and triple jumped a verified 42 feet, 3 inches.
“All the coaches always ask me ‘What do you think he is? Is he a receiver, a safety?'” Appling said. “I tell them ‘That’s for y’all to pick.'”
Bolden visited Clemson in January and has a visit with Ohio State lined up this summer. Nebraska has not offered him yet but this coaching staff could make a charge this spring. He’s told his coaches he wants to increase his offensive stats and grow as a leader in 2023.
He fits Rhule’s ideal athletic mold and Appling thought Nebraska offered him by now. The Buford head coach credited Nebraska’s staff for keeping a presence at Buford. Husker football still resonates with Appling’s football program and his emphasis on old-school football.
“That old-school Tom Osborne-type football is what we believe in,” Appling said. “We don’t mind seeing our guys go up there knowing what you guys have done for us. I think with Coach Rhule now, it’s only up from here.”
Nebraska gained another preferred walk-on in its 2023 recruiting class. Elkhorn Mount Michael lineman Conor Connealy announced his decision on Wednesday evening. He’s the son of former Husker Terry Connealy and visited Memorial Stadium a few times before the coaching change in September.
Four-star Bellevue West receiver Dae’vonn Hall gained an offer from Texas A&M on Wednesday and is scheduled to visit College Station this weekend. He also recently gained an offer from Penn State.
A pair of 3-star linemen are confirmed to visit Lincoln for the VIP Junior Day planned on March 25. Fort Collins, Colorado, standout Gage Ginther and Kindred, North Dakota, lineman Riley Sunram make over a dozen scheduled visitors for that weekend.
Another scheduled attendee of that Junior Day is Gatlin Bair, the consensus 4-star receiver from Idaho. Bair received an invitation to the 2024 Army All-American Bowl on Thursday.
>> Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts made his monthly stop on Sports Nightly with Greg Sharpe Wednesday night. Alberts gave an update on the various ongoing Huskers sports, as well as Volleyball Day in Nebraska and football winter workouts.
>> The 2023 Girls State Basketball Tournament is underway and Hail Varsity’s Jacob Padilla has your takeaways. He wrote about the quarterfinals on Wednesday and will have ongoing coverage throughout the tournament.
>> An astonishing second-half charge from Michigan State on Tuesday overcame Nebraska’s strong first half on the Huskers’ Senior Night. You can read the game story and check out our photo gallery of the final regular-season game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers finish the regular season Sunday.