Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: Upcoming Visitor Breaks Top 5 National Time in 60-Meter Dash

February 19, 2023

Matt Rhule and his coaching staff like to recruit speed. Blistering sprints or climbing jumps catch their eye and guide them to the film room.

Idaho State University in Pocatello hosted the annual Simplot Games this past weekend. It’s the largest indoor track meet in North America, bringing some of the best track athletes from America and Canada to this year’s multi-day meet. Nebraska target Gatlin Bair, who is due to visit Lincoln next month, won the 60-meter dash in 6.69 seconds. That’s the fifth-fastest indoor 60-meter mark in the country this season. Bair—a junior at Burley, Idaho, who competed unattached—finished well ahead of Oregon signee Rodrick Pleasant (6.80) in second place.

Bair’s accomplishment and the coaching staff’s history of recruiting track and multi-sport standouts gives way to a theory. Who else stood out at the Simplot Games that might enter Nebraska’s recruiting radar?

One could be Taylor Searle from Hamilton, Montana. He’s an all-state safety who just finished second in the pole vault in Pocatello with a 15-foot jump. While his stats for last season aren’t available, he made 41 tackles and seven interceptions as a sophomore. One of those interceptions came in the end zone during the 2021 state championship game.

Keon Rude would be a curious candidate. He finished third in the 60 (6.87) and won the 60 hurdles (7.86) at this year’s Simplot Games. Rude is from Calgary, Alberta, and started running as a way to improve at football. He runs 10.48 in the 100 and 22.20 in the 200. Right now it looks like he’s concentrating on sprinting and hurdling in college and for the Canadian National Team. Perhaps he’d entertain a return to football with that kind of speed.

Brady Mider of Berks Catholic High School didn’t compete in this year’s Simplot Games but could be one to watch. He’s a junior with a 61-foot, 4-inch shot put that ranks fourth in the country. Mider is an offensive and defensive tackle at Berks Catholic, which is in Reading, Pennsylvania, home of Albright College—Matt Rhule’s first coaching job. Mider hasn’t thrown the discus yet as a junior but hit a personal record 151 feet, 11 inches last year as a sophomore.

There’s also Jelani Watkins of Klein Forrest in Houston, Texas. He decided not to compete at Simplot but posted the second-best indoor 200 meter time in the country (20.94). He’s a junior and a composite 4-star receiver. Nebraska offered him a month ago, checking into the Texas recruiting base and the high-achieving track speed.

Recruit Watch

Nebraska recently extended a scholarship offer to Jaylen McClain, a safety at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, New Jersey. McClain is a composite 4-star recruit who ranks among the top 25 safeties in the 2024 recruiting class. He has already ran 11.06 in the 100 and 22.77 in the 200. McClain also made 83 tackles last season, 71 the year before, with one interception in each.

Defensive back recruit Marcus Goree Jr. committed to Tennessee on Saturday. Goree, from Cleveland, Tennessee, visited Knoxville many times in the last season. He listed Nebraska among his final five schools after the Huskers offered him last June.


>> Potential National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes pulled away from Nebraska as a record Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd looked on Saturday.

>> This weekend brought the end of the high school basketball season. Hail Varsity took a look at some of the takeaways headed into the post-season.

>> Nebraska hosted red-hot Maryland on Sunday as the Huskers hit their own rhythm. C.J. Wilcher’s hot-handed game against Rutgers gave the Huskers momentum. Hail Varsity broke down his night against the Scarlet Knights.

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