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 18th installment, as told to beat writer Erin Sorensen.
As many likely know by now, I ended up taking my last official visit to Florida State. I had originally intended to visit Florida, but it made the most sense to head to Tallahassee instead.
The reason for that decision came from the fact that Florida has yet to hire a defensive backs coach and I hadn’t talked much with coach Dan Mullen. He also hadn’t recruited me at Mississippi State, so I didn’t have much of a relationship with him.
On the reverse, I already had a good relationship with Coach [Willie] Taggart from when he recruited me at Oregon. The first week he was on staff with Florida State, he offered me. It just made sense, and I felt more comfortable with that decision.
And Florida was more than understanding with the change in decision. When I told them, they simply said, ‘OK.’ That was really it.
As for Florida State, I had a lot of fun. I know a lot of people on the team, so they showed me a good time and what it would be like to live out there. Overall, I had a good time. My mom, my niece, my brother and his girlfriend all came along, too. And they also saw that Florida State is a great school. They liked it, but they still want to learn more about the city of Tallahassee before I make any decisions.
It’s crazy that the deadline for making a decision is getting closer, too. While I’m not signing early this week, I know it’ll be here before I know it.
I don’t let anyone pressure me or anything, because I have to represent that university and they have to represent me. I’m not going to let anybody pressure me into doing something I don’t want to do.
For the recruits trying to decide if they’ll sign early this week or not, my advice is to just do what you do. Find out every little detail about the university that comes to mind. Find what is the best fit for you. Don’t rush anything.
I understand coaches want to finalize their classes and they want to take care of that, but if you’re a priority to the coaches, then you won’t be rushed. They’ll let you take your time. They’ll wait for you if you’re a priority and you’re not ready yet to make a decision.
And as I said, I’m going to do that personally. I have a lot to think about over the next couple of weeks, and it’s going to be a whirlwind. Tuesday is my last day at IMG, so I’ll first be back in Los Angeles before I head to Las Vegas for Christmas. I’ll be in Vegas with my mom, my nieces and nephews, my cousins and everybody out there.
After that, I’ll head back to Los Angeles to see my other cousins and make sure I give them my Christmas presents that I got for them. From there, I’ll fly out on New Year’s Eve to San Antonio, Texas, to start preparing for the Army All-American Bowl. I’ll go straight to college after that.
It’s all scheduled. Every day from now on is planned so it’s going to be crazy, but I also can’t wait.
And this is truly the start. It’s not the end of anything. It’s just the introduction to what’s next.
Miss a week of Bookie’s senior season diary? Catch up here.