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Lloyd continues the family legacy by choosing NU

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Jaylen Lloyd arrived at the North Omaha Boys and Girls Club on Saturday in a white T-shirt with her initials drawn on it. Thirty minutes later, the Omaha Westside receiver donned a red Huskers jacket, donned a white cap with a red N, and, in a special touch, pulled a new pair of red and white Jordans out of the box to wear.

Nebraska’s newest appointment posed with Husker legend Johnny Rodgers and eventually all of the other 100 or so friends and family who watched as the fastest football player in the state announced he would stay home and take his considerable speed to NU.

Nobody was happier than Lloyd’s mother, Dalhia, who also brought a special piece of clothing.

Her 22-year-old Husker jacket has won, among other accomplishments, seven Big 12 titles as a long and triple jumper. Jaylen is as good a jumper as her mother. But he will also play football for the Huskers, on a full scholarship.

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“When she found out I was coming to Nebraska, she almost cried,” Jaylen said. “It felt like we would have a legacy here.”

As for the letter jacket? “I didn’t even know she had it,” Jaylen said.

Dalhia may have taught her son to be an elite jumper – a high school national champion last summer, in fact – but she said she doesn’t talk much about her career when her last name was Ingram.

But when Jaylen was offered a scholarship by new coach Matt Rhule — just hours after Rhule took over — Dalhia was blunt: Go see the school. Make an official visit. Give it a try.

“So that’s what we did,” said Lloyd, who had 44 catches for 784 yards at the Westside this season.

Rhule, the Lloyd family said, has a “formula” for evaluating players. Jaylen fits. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound — nicknamed “Lil Vroom Vroom” as a kid — ran a 10.54-second 100-meter sprint at the Class A state championships last season. He is also an explosive athlete with a variety of moves. Other shows in the Midwest have not seen it. Texas Tech – trained by Rhule acolyte Joey McGuire – saw and Lloyd considered this school. Ultimately, he leaned towards signing with Florida just for the track.

“He was very, very close,” said Dalhia Lloyd.

Until Rhule offered. Nebraska “prioritizes” Lloyd as a football player and sees him working as a receiver or fielder. He becomes the fourth committed receiver in Nebraska’s 2023 recruiting class, joining Barry Jackson, Jaidyn Doss and Brice Turner, who is also a track and field star in Bay City, Texas.

“This team treats me like I’m number 1,” said Lloyd. The runway was always on the cards no matter where you went to school. In Nebraska, he and Turner can shake up the Husker track team without relying on the program’s purse money.

The Dec. 9 official visit, Jaylen said, “felt like family.” Dahlia agreed. In a unique twist, three wives — de Rhule, defensive backs coach Evan Cooper and special teams coordinator Ed Foley — were part of the recruiting itinerary, eating several meals with the recruits’ parents.

“He felt that the coaches had a strong community, and you can tell from the Boys and Girls Club event, this is something he is used to, he thrives on it,” said Dalhia. “He felt that kind of energy with the coaches. I think that’s what won him over.”

Jaylen decided on the visit to commit. He told Rhule at the same time that Mom and Dad learned of his plans.

“I went crazy,” Dalhia said.

Dalhia laughed at the dust jacket. She’s tried it a few times – and it still works.

“It was in a closet,” Dalhia said. “Even all the medals and stuff, I don’t really put that in a lot.”

During the ceremony, Jaylen’s running medals were on a table to her left. An engagement video played to her right. A bleacher full of fans watched the entire scene. Saturday was perfect for the Lloyd family. Jaylen takes up two road sports at her mother’s alma mater.

“It’s almost surreal knowing that I’m going to have my own child out there,” said Dalhia. “His name could be next to mine, trying to break records, do crazy things. I’m excited.”