The Canadian pipeline is flowing into yet another recruiting cycle for the Nebraska baseball team.
Outfielder Matt Evans announced his commitment Monday to the Huskers’ 2023 class. Out of Tillsonburg, Ontario, he’s from the same Great Lake Canadians travel program that has produced recent Big Red pledges in middle infielder Core Jackson (2021) and pitcher/first baseman Caleb Clark (2022).
Like the others, Evans first connected with Nebraska through his current coach. That is Adam Stern — a former college roommate of NU coach Will Bolt and part of the same 1998 class that helped form the nucleus for the school’s College World Series breakthrough a few years later.
“Not a lot of kids can say one of their top four colleges offered them,” Evans said. “Even before Nebraska called me, they were my third of four NCAA colleges based on what I know about them and what I’ve heard.”
Nebraska extended a partial scholarship offer last week after seeing Evans perform at a Futures Game event in Georgia last month featuring some of the top uncommitted 2023 prospects in the country. Evans said he didn’t play particularly well by his standards — collecting three hits in three games — but he hit the ball hard, didn’t strike out at all and stole some bases.
Evans projects as an outfielder in college. Preferably center field, he said, given how quick and vocal he is. The left-handed hitter who throws righty considers himself a table setter with a dash of power — similar to the style of recent Husker Jaxon Hallmark. He said he has two homers this season along with 30-plus steals.
“I can lead a game off with a bunt, or I can lead a game off with a first-pitch home run if I need to,” Evans said. “It’s more of a sneaky power type of thing.”
Nebraska was the first school to offer Evans, he said. He was fielding interest from Illinois State, Stony Brook, St. John’s and Arkansas-Little Rock. A former hockey goalie, he said generating college baseball looks can be challenging in the Great White North.
That’s where Stern comes in. The former Husker opened the Great Lake Canadians club in 2013 to help progress young baseball talent in the community roughly 80 miles northeast of Detroit.
Lately, that’s included sending talent to a place with coaches he trusts. Next spring, Jackson will become the first Canadian to suit up for the Huskers in two full decades.
“I’m not doing any insider trading, but I obviously have ties,” Stern told The World-Herald last year. “Nebraska is in my blood. At the end of the day, some of the best baseball experiences I have in my life were with the people there. I really believe in the mentality. I want any of these kids to go to a spot where they can succeed. I’m a big fan of what’s going on at Nebraska. If it works out and it works into what they’re doing, I would love nothing better than for Canadian kids getting a chance to go play at Nebraska.”
Evans becomes the fifth member of NU’s 2023 class, which was ranked 69th nationally by Perfect Game before his decision. The others are pitcher/infielder Tucker Timmerman of Beatrice, infielder Max Buettenback of Lincoln Southeast, pitcher/infielder Ryan Harrahill of Elkhorn North and two-way prospect Noah Madsen of Roseville, California.
Evans hasn’t yet visited Nebraska but was impressed by a virtual tour. He’s also heard enough from those around him to be convinced that good times are coming.
“It’s all smiles,” Evans said. “People are excited. It’s a great feeling.”