On Halloween night, the Husker fans got some news that they were preparing for but hoping would not quite come. Four-star defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, better known as Bookie, has left the 2018 class for Nebraska. The relationship between Nebraska and Radley-Hiles has been interesting to say the least for the past few months and culminated in him releasing this statement via Twitter.
This was obviously a difficult decision that he reached after a lot of thought and care. Here are five thoughts on the decision.
1) The centerpiece of 2018 recruiting class is gone.
There is no sugar coating or minimizing the on-field impact of losing Radley-Hiles from this class. From a pure football standpoint, he was the highest-rated player in the class and one of the top cornerback prospects in the country. Radley-Hiles is the type of corner you can build a defense around. He more than held his own at every national camp he attended and is having a great senior season.
2) The leader of the 2018 recruiting class is gone.
The influence that Radley-Hiles had over other recruits in this class and amount of peer recruiting he had done for the Huskers is enormous. He’s a national recruit that is very popular with his peers. They know how good he is and he has an infectious personality that other players want to be around. Having a “ring-leader” in your class is more common these days and can be extremely beneficial. Who, if anyone steps into that role now that he is no longer part of the class?
3) Nebraska suddenly is in danger at defensive back for this class.
Nebraska is left with just two defensive back commits currently with 4-star Chase Williams and 4-star Mario Goodrich left in the fold. Those two players are very talented and in both cases, underrated in my opinion. However, Nebraska needs to take at least four defensive backs in this class. The current speculation around Mike Riley’s job status that at least in part led to Radley-Hiles’ decision makes it hard to add more players to the group.
4) Is Bookie the first of many?
Husker fans had been bracing for Tuesday’s move by Radley-Hiles to leave the class, but are there more players who will make the same decision soon? Given the situation with Riley and the staff, we can’t expect this to be the last player that leaves the class. Players hear the noise surrounding the program right now and have to make decisions in their best interests. Losing commits before any decision on the future of Nebraska football has been announced doesn’t bode well for Riley. He needs a strong recruiting class to show Athletic Director Bill Moos a reason for hope in the future.
5) Husker Nation is missing out on a special young man.
You will not find a person in my line of work that has a bad thing to say about Radley-Hiles. Believe it or not, that can be rare. He has been nothing short of respectful and humble in our interactions. By the way Husker fans gravitated towards him, you can see just how easy to root for he is and there are a lot of people that will be disappointed they won’t get to root for him in scarlet and cream. These are often tough decisions made by 17-year-olds and this one is just not going to go Nebraska’s way.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.