You can’t always believe everything you hear, but 2018 Rivals100 cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles is a believer in what Nebraska is all about following his spring game visit this past weekend.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound prospect from Calabasas, Calif. had heard all about the Huskers from his teammates and NU pledges Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Tristan Gebbia. Radley-Hiles wasn’t sure whether or not they were hyping up their future school for recruiting purposes or because it was real. He quickly found out for himself once he arrived in Lincoln this weekend.
“I didn’t believe what they were talking about,” Radley-Hiles said in regard to what his high school teammates had to say about Nebraska. “I thought they were just lying, trying to recruit me and the other players on our team. Then when I got up there and I saw it I knew that they were not playing. Like, this was literally much more than they were saying. It really doesn’t get much better than that. It was crazy. I think you just have to experience it for yourself to really understand it because I don’t think everyone is going to believe what you tell them.
“It doesn’t get much better than Nebraska. We loved it, man. Husker Nation is just great and we all just loved everything about the visit.”
Radley-Hiles was surrounded by friends, fellow Nebraska recruits and commits during his visit, but it was head coach Mike Riley that really made a lasting impression on him.
“My favorite thing was probably when after the spring game was over I went over to say ‘good game’ to Nate Gerry and Avery Anderson,” Radley-Hiles said. “I went over to talk with those guys and Coach Riley pulled me out of that safeties group and asked me how I liked the game. I told him that I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and everything around here. I loved the game and I loved how the scoring system worked and that it out perfectly.
“Then he told me to stand there for a second and he signed a few autographs for people who were on the field and he said, ‘I need you to walk in with me.’ So I literally was with him for the next three hours after the game.
“We walked around, me and his wife played pool together, we ate together and we had a meeting in his room. We talked about everything in general like academics. It was a great visit, man. He’s legendary in my book.”
Riley is different from most other coaches out there according to Radley-Hiles and the two of them have established a good relationship.
“Primarily, I feel like I took a different route with Coach Riley,” Radley-Hiles said. “I feel like I have a different relationship with him. As of right now me and him look at each other eye-to-eye as somewhat of a mentor to a young man type of situation. We look at each other as like as if he’s just my mentor and like we’ve known each other for years now. It’s crazy because that was the first time I’ve ever seen him before so that was big for me.
“He’s just great and I’ve never really seen anybody like that before. Him and his wife really sat down with me. We ate together in his office and talked about family and what I planned to do academic-wise. Never once did we talk about football.
“He just wanted to know about my background and where I come from and I loved that about him. He’s just one of the most humble guys there is. It’s just hard to describe a man like that.”
The Huskers’ head coach made such an impression on Radley-Hiles that the 2018 prospect says he aspires to be the same type of person one day and believes his mother will take a great liking to Riley as well.
“During our meeting Coach Riley was telling me how me and his grandson, Eli, have the same birthday and how if Eli were to grow up like me he would be doing something right,” Radley-Hiles said. “So that right there, that made a great impact on me.
“Just how a great man like (Riley) would say such a positive thing about me. His character is just great and I want to be like that when I grow up and if I become a coach one day hopefully. I would be just elated about that if I could be like him.
“Coach Riley is a man that, personally, my mom is going to love. She’s going to like him. She’s going to say, “Bookie, you really need to look into Nebraska and weigh your options out.’ Nebraska is going to be a primary factor in this recruiting process.”
Radley-Hiles doesn’t have a list of top schools, but says Nebraska will be there until the end for him based off of how his visit went this weekend.
In fact, he and his cousin, Tyjon Lindsey, plan on visiting the Huskers a couple more times in the near future.
“Yeah, they definitely will be there until the end,” Radley-Hiles said. “Nebraska has made a very, very large leap in my recruiting process personally. I haven’t made a top seven or a top five or anything, but in my mental top schools Nebraska has leapt up from where they were.
“We are all planning on going out to Nebraska again. We are all planning on getting out there for the Oregon game in Week 3. That’s the plan as of right now. I personally want to get out there again alone with my mom and Tyjon. I think me, her and Tyjon will go out there without the other guys and really look at the background of the city and everything and see if we would like it there.
“Me and Tyjon are very similar and we would like to look at the living situations and see how everything would be set up in Lincoln if we were to go there. We’ll probably go to every top five school that Tyjon and I want to go to.”
As a sophomore, Radley-Hiles still has a lot of the recruiting process to go. However, he has a good idea of what he will be basing his decision off of when the time to commit comes.
“The big determining factors of my recruitment will be my comfort level with the head coach and my position coach,” Radley-Hiles said. “Just like how much of an impact they can make on my life as a student of the game, my academic career and my football career of course. So primarily it will be comfort level with the coaches, my living situation, my mother’s comfort with it all and the fan bases.”