Editor’s note: Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles, a top-ranked 2018 cornerback recruit who plays at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is contributing a weekly first-person story to DieHards. Here is the 16th installment, as told to beat writer Erin Sorensen.
I am officially a 5-star cornerback according to Rivals. It doesn’t feel much different than being a 4-star, but it still is pretty cool.
I found out kind of unconventionally. Someone on Twitter congratulated me and one of my closer friends Jaiden Woodbey — who is committed to Ohio State — on becoming 5 stars. The person was an Oklahoma fan so they said, “Congratulations on 5 stars, now come to Norman!”
As I’m reading that, I was thinking, “Wait. What happened?” So, I looked it up on 247Sports, but I was still a 4-star there. I thought someone was playing with me, but then I checked Rivals. It said I was a 5-star there and I was like, “Oh, shoot. That’s crazy.” By the time I went back to Twitter, Rivals had posted it.
The best part of the whole thing for me is that this was a promise I made to my mom a long time ago. When I made that promise, I knew I had to keep it. After I saw it today, I texted my family’s group chat and they were all very proud of me. One person who specifically remembered this goal was Coach Donte Williams because he knew I really wanted that fifth star for my mom.
And when I told my mom, she was crying. From all the stuff we have gone through in high school until now, it was a great experience.
My Baby is Officially a 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🏈
— Brenda Radley (@brendaradley44) December 4, 2017
My brother was a 3-star out of high school — and some viewed him as a 4-star — so his claim to me was that I hadn’t done anything he hadn’t already. It’s the typical competition between brothers and not wanting to let his “kingship” go. But when I texted him, I said, “I’ve got you now.” His response? “Mission complete.”
Stars had never really meant that much to me before, but I can speak more honestly about it now. Being here as a 5-star, it was a chase. When I first got to IMG, everyone kept talking about setting goals and dreams. I felt like a lot of players that are in similar positions to what I’m in now, this is the dream. And I know for me personally, being alive is a dream so everything else going forward is a goal.
As for my future, I did have a chance to talk to Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It was crazy how it all happened, because I was up early for a team meeting on Monday. I came back to my room after that, took a nap, and then went to lift. I had a great lift, and then was sitting there studying when I got a call from a Winter Park, Fla., number. I was thinking, “Who is this?”
When I answered, the person on the other end had a really deep voice. It was deep enough to sound like my brother. The person asked, “Why do they call you Bookie?” It ended up being Coach Frost.
He started talking about how I was committed to Nebraska for a long time and now that he’s at Nebraska, he wants me back there alongside him. He just kept reminding me that the people of Lincoln love me and that he wanted me back. He then re-offered me.
Getting that offer from Frost meant a lot. I told Nebraska’s new running backs coach Ryan Held today when I met him that getting an offer directly from the new staff is a big deal. I don’t know what the future holds, but the offer and meeting with Held meant a lot.
As for my final official visit? I’ll be visiting Florida Dec. 15-17. Their new coach, Dan Mullen, wanted me to come visit, so I am.
Guess we’ll see what happens.
Miss a week of Bookie’s senior season diary? Catch up here.