Huskers baseball coach Will Bolt, 6.20

New Nebraska baseball assistant coach Lance Harvell talks to the media after the introductory news conference for head coach Will Bolt on the sixth floor of Memorial Stadium on Thursday.

Will Bolt's name and status as Nebraska's baseball coach will get him into plenty of living rooms of young baseball players in Nebraska.

Heck, he did that plenty while at Texas A&M, helping to reel in four Nebraska natives to play for the Aggies.

Now he'll try and do the same for his alma mater. And his assistant coaches have been given the directive to do the same.

"We want to put a fence up around the state of Nebraska," assistant coach Lance Harvell said. "That's where it starts, is there. But Will mentioned it, too — you've got to get the right guys. It's not necessarily just from any particular area; you still have to have the right guys in place."

When Harvell speaks, it's wise to listen. He will serve as Nebraska's recruiting coordinator, and his ability to identify talent — along with Bolt and fellow assistant Jeff Christy's — will play as large a role as any in deciding what kind of future lays in front of Nebraska's program.

Christy, who starred at Lincoln Southeast and later caught for the Huskers, has seen up close for much of his life the type of talent Nebraska can produce.

It's a matter, NU's new pitching coach said, of fostering the bonds that help lead that talent to Haymarket Park.

"Just making those relationships early and making sure that everybody knows that if they're a right fit for us and they're a good player that we're going to try to make it a priority for them to be a Husker," Christy said at Bolt's introductory press conference. "It starts with talking to the coaches and making sure that we get their input and trying to get in touch with the players as well and making sure they want to be a Husker, and if that's the case, we can make it happen. It all comes down to relationships."

Harvell said the "ink wasn't even dry" on the new coaches' paperwork before he and Christy were off and running in search of talent. While it remains to be seen what that means for Nebraska's 2019 recruiting class — NU has at least nine known 2019 high school graduates committed — it's clear there will be a focus on keeping the state's top talent from migrating to the south and east.

Or, as Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos described in his own unique way, the Huskers will work smarter while trying to fill out their roster.

"We’re not going to fly over talent to get talent," Moos said. "There’s talent in Nebraska and then we’ll fill in the gaps."

The tide, perhaps, has already begun to turn in that regard. Logan Foster, a Lincoln Southwest graduate who went to Texas A&M out of high school, reportedly entered the transfer portal Saturday after three seasons with the Aggies.

It remains to be seen if Foster will return home, but his connections with Bolt and Christy alone would seem to make the Huskers a favored landing spot.

Even if he doesn't end up at Nebraska, Foster keenly understands just how Nebraska's new coaches will recruit.

"In a general sense of it, I think a lot of times players, high school players for sure, don't always understand who they are," Harvell said. "We help them identify what their skillset is and tell them: Instead of trying to be great at all these different things over here, let's pare it down and be great at these handful of things."

In other words, Harvell said, be great at what you are.

It's a strategy that has worked in Texas, and one that can work in Nebraska, Harvell explained.

"What you end up seeing is, when you put parameters around guys and they are just able to focus on that every day when they go to work in that system — it's baserunning, it's bunting, it's batting practice, it's cage work — I mean, every phase. When they start to work inside of that and become really good at who they are, that's when you really start to see the development," Harvell said. "You see them kind of blossom out of that."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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