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‘I’m stress-free now’: Lincoln East standout pitcher Jalen Worthley flips commitment to Nebraska | Baseball

EVAN BLAND Omaha World-Herald

In a late development, one of the state’s best baseball prospects in the Class of 2022 is coming to Nebraska.

Lincoln East left-hander Jalen Worthley announced his commitment to the Huskers on Friday. The decision ends a whirlwind few weeks in which he backed off a pledge to San Jose State and became acquainted with the hometown team.

“I had the opportunity to play close to home in front of my family and friends,” Worthley said. “I was like, ‘Why not?’ It’s something different and a great opportunity.”

The hard-throwing southpaw — with a fastball touching 92 mph this summer — had been committed to SJSU for nearly two years. But pitching coach Seth Moir parted ways with the school in mid-July, prompting the 5-foot-11, 172-pounder to reassess his options from him.

The result is a win for Nebraska, which lands the No. 82 lefty in his class according to Perfect Game. The pitcher struck out 67 in 42 innings with a 0.84 ERA this spring. He was also the state’s Prep Baseball Report player of the year.

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Worthley joins a crowded 2022 class for NU that includes 10 junior college players, six transfers and now nine high school players.

His addition is somewhat reminiscent of the late commitment of Max Anderson in 2020, though Anderson — the top in-state prospect in that class out of Millard West — flipped from Texas A&M in June that year after the pandemic forced a roster crunch that eliminated his spot with the SEC school.

Then — like now — Nebraska capitalized on the situation.

Worthley had been considering going the juco route. He didn’t expect many schools to have remaining scholarship money — he fielded late interest from Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Alabama — but the Huskers did. He had n’t had any dialogue with NU coaches before his decommitment of him.

“People thought this situation was the most unusual thing ever and the same for me,” Worthley said. “But I’m stress-free now and excited.”

The recent high school grad ultimately sees himself as a starter in college, offering a four-pitch mix of fastball, change-up, slider and curveball. He moved to Lincoln with his family two years ago from Sabetha, a community of about 2,500 in northeast Kansas.

Worthley’s younger brother, Jeter, is a Michigan pledge in the 2025 class and the No. 268 overall national prospect via Perfect Game as a catcher/outfielder. Jalen said the two have already been imagining the scene when they meet for a Big Ten series in a few years.

“People were trying to push me to get him to decommit and come to Nebraska with me,” Jalen Worthley said. “But playing against him and getting him out would be pretty cool, too.”

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