Red-White Spring Game, 4/15

Nebraska recruit Brendan Radley-Hiles takes in the scene prior to the Red-White Spring Game in April at Memorial Stadium.

Here is what Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles tweeted about 20 minutes before 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon. He tweeted "N."

That's it. N. And a period. It said everything.

By early Monday evening, that had been retweeted 149 times and liked more than 1,400 times. This is all simply because Husker fans have started to realize Bookie knows.

Radley-Hiles knows who is leaning Nebraska's way on the recruiting trail and who isn't. He knows who is about to commit. He knew in a matter of minutes after his tweet on Sunday that wide receiver Joshua Moore, a fellow four-star recruit who has quickly become his friend, was going to make it public that he wanted to be a Husker too.

"I'm pretty used to it now," Radley-Hiles said of the tremors one of his tweets can send through a Husker fan base. "I didn't really understand it at first about how much basically my Twitter feed meant to people. Now that I know, it's a really humbling experience."

In a Husker 2018 recruiting class that as of Monday night had 10 commits in it — the number shrinking by one when the news popped out that Nebraska and wide receiver Eric Fuller had parted ways — there are many impressive prospects, including a talented local commit of two years from Beatrice named Cameron Jurgens.

But the face of the class? It has to be the cornerback with the catchy nickname finishing his senior year down at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Husker fans fell pretty hard for his talent and personality a year ago at the Friday Night Lights event, where Radley-Hiles still considers a top highlight to be his conversation with the great former NU O-line coach Milt Tenopir, who passed away just a few months later. "Our conversation was really amazing to me."

He'll return to Lincoln again this week for this year's final Friday Night Lights camp. He plans to get here at least a day early. He's eager to work on the field with cornerbacks coach Donté Williams. And off. Studying film with the coach.

Radley-Hiles isn't just committed to Nebraska. He's an active recruiter of others to join him at Nebraska.

In the case of Nebraska's latest commit, Moore, they were briefly teammates at IMG Academy before Moore decided to head back home to Yoakum, Texas, to finish his senior year. That's why Sunday's decision was no newsflash to Bookie.

"It was like he kind of knew where he was going, but he didn't know 100 percent until a week before," Radley-Hiles said. "I wanted him to make the best decision for him, not for me. He has to live his life out there in Lincoln just like I have to."

Because of their brief time as teammates at IMG, Bookie and Moore have already gotten the chance to match up on the field, too. That's a 5-10, 185-pound cornerback who ranks as the 34th-best recruit nationally by Rivals against a 6-1, 170-pound receiver who ranks 62nd nationally by the 247Sports composite.

"I have to say that he's one of the best receivers I've ever guarded in pads," Radley-Hiles said. "I haven't guarded probably a more electrifying guy like that, with that type of size. He's just a different guy. He's fast like a little receiver, but he's tall. He's different. You have to play him a certain way."

Radley-Hiles is also the cousin of true freshman Husker receiver Tyjon Lindsey. He's covered him, too. So he has a better idea than most about NU's recent highly rated receiver recruits.

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At the moment, there are two receiver commits in the class: Moore and four-star receiver Manuel Allen (Corona, California). But that, Radley-Hiles believes, is just the start of what NU is going to continue to add at that position.

"It's going to get worse, watch," he said, meaning "worse" for the competition. "I got a few more things planned out — you'll see eventually. A few more people we'll be adding to that receiving corps will even make it more scary."

It might not be quite that simple for Mike Riley and staff, given the class number limitations. Riley has said the Huskers probably have three slots in this class at the receiver position.

Riley also said in April, "I don't think it's ever been a case where we've had to turn away a really, really good player. I don't want to get into that business, so we have to be careful."

Husker coaches obviously carry the lead in recruiting — and the work of wide receivers coach Keith Williams and corners coach Donté Williams already stands tall.

But Bookie will keep doing his part putting a good word for Nebraska in the ears of peers without forcing the issue.

In the case of Moore, the two Husker commits bonded over more than just football while at IMG. Both have had to deal with similar pain — the tragic death of older brothers.

Radley-Hiles' older brother, Brandon Webb, died four years before Bookie was born.  Bookie paid tribute to him in his video announcing he was going to Nebraska.

Moore's older brother, Quinton, died after committing suicide four years ago on June 18. It's why Moore announced his school on Sunday. His video also paid tribute to his brother.

"That's one of the main reasons why Josh and I are so close because we both have the same struggles," Radley-Hiles said. "We both lost our brothers, who was basically like everything to us. So me and him connected on a crazy level."

After Moore visited Lincoln for the Red-White Spring Game, the same weekend Radley-Hiles committed to NU, the cornerback could see the receiver felt like he could fit with the Huskers.

"Ever since then, being on the flights with him, just talking about stuff, spending time in each other's dorm rooms all night long, just talking, just bonding with each other, it changed a lot," Radley-Hiles said. "Basically it made us just become more than just homies."

If all goes as planned, they'll soon be something else: college teammates. In recruiting terms, Bookie is what they would refer to as a "solid verbal."

Rock-solid, it seems. He laughs when he's told Nebraska fans and media are even starting to figure out his nickname Bookie is prounced "Boo-key" and not "Book-ie."

He doesn't usually correct those who say it wrong. "I let them live," he said with a laugh. "They know my face. It's OK."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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