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 12th installment, as told to beat writer Erin Sorensen.
One week ago, I made the decision to de-commit from Nebraska. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was a decision truly between me and my family. We had thought about that decision for about a week or two before it was official. It was a lot of thinking and praying. To do it was not easy at all.
It took me some time to even start the letter that I shared on Twitter. I didn’t know where to begin. There were so many people to thank, to appreciate, and I had so many emotional connections to Nebraska.
I spoke to [Huskers cornerbacks coach] Donte [Williams] before I did it, as well as Coach [Mike] Riley. I spoke with Dub [wide receivers coach Keith Williams] after the fact, and he was understanding. Both he and Donte were giving me advice, and telling me to explore and appreciate this time. They also reminded me to look at this with the right reasons, and not get sucked up by all these schools putting on a show when I’m on campus for 48 hours. Because the devil can make hell look like heaven for 48 hours.
It was still tough though because right after I did it, Donte texted me. All he said was, “I hope you’re all right. I know a lot of attention is going to come but make sure you stay level-headed. I’m always here for you.” That meant a lot.
And through this all, I was still preparing for IMG’s big matchup with Hoover. This game had been on my mind for a while, because they are a well-coached team and we knew it would be a good game. We knew what we have to do to win that game, though. The focus was definitely there from a team level, and while I had other things going on personally, I did my best to stay focused.
Once I had de-committed though, I turned my phone off, put my focus into the playbook and isolated my attention to Hoover.
By game time, I was ready to go. And I did have one big kickoff return, which I was proud of. I got the ball on the 1-yard line and nearly returned it all the way for a touchdown. They called me out at the 4-yard line, but I’m pretty sure I had gotten to the 1-yard line. But it’s OK, because we then punched it into the end zone on the next play.
As for the rest of the weekend, I did take an unofficial visit to Alabama. I figured I was close enough to Tuscaloosa from Hoover, plus my mom was there. She loves Alabama, so she wanted me to check it out.
It was a good little visit. There were a lot of recruits there and I got to shake Coach [Nick] Saban’s hand. I wasn’t able to talk to him too long, but we were able to talk for a few minutes. It wasn’t like he could give his undivided attention with so many recruits there. Overall though, it was very cool. I even got to speak to a few players before the game.
And Alabama is a dominant program that is strict to their process. They’re absolutely a dominant force in college football, which was cool to see in person.
As for me and my future, it’s hard to believe though that this is now my final week of high school football. I don’t like to think about it too much, but I know it’ll hit me one day. I’m just trying to take it week by week, so I just want to hit this week out with IMG against Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.).
I think it’ll hit me after the game, or the next day, but I’ll do my best to take this game like I do any other. I don’t want to make it too emotional or put too much emphasis on this game. There’s a lot of history between IMG and Bishop Sullivan, but I’m going to play it just like I’ve played all of my other high school games.
It’ll hit me later, though. I know it.
Miss a week of Bookie’s senior season diary? Catch up here.
The post 4-star Brendan Radley-Hiles’ diary: Big decisions and big football games appeared first on Diehards.
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