Moments after landing an offer from Notre Dame, sophomore defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles sent a text message to current Irish defensive back Nicco Fertitta to share the news.
Radley-Hiles, a 5-foot-10, 178-pounder from Calabasas, Calif., played his freshman and sophomore season at national powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas before returning to his home school in California this winter.
At Gorman he met Fertitta and Irish tight end Alizé Jones, both seniors during Radley-Hiles’ freshman year.
“Nicco is one of my best friends,” Radley-Hiles said. “He was like my mentor when I was out there in Vegas. He taught me basically the whole defense in a week. We were together at all times. When he left he told me I had to keep the legacy going for him. I did that for a year and then I transferred. Me and Nicco had a great relationship and me and Alizé did as well.”
Irish assistant Mike Denbrock was at Calabasas High on Wednesday. He delivered the offer to Radley-Hiles’ head coach, Casey Clausen, who relayed the message to his talented sophomore.
“I texted Nicco immediately,” Radley-Hiles said. “He was just talking to me about how much we loved each other and how for sure I’m going to come out there and visit him this summer and stuff like that.”
Radley-Hiles has another tie to the Irish.
He grew up with Irish receiver C.J. Sanders before Sanders transferred to Tennessee for his junior season.
Those ties have the Irish in a good place with Radley-Hiles.
“Those three guys all went there and to have all three of those guys in the program it has to be a terrific program. It was just a great honor to have that (offer),” he said. “As of right now, nobody sticks out that much, but Notre Dame will be in my top three guaranteed when it comes to the end. I can tell you that much. At the same time, nobody really is ahead of the other. Right now everybody has an equal shot at me. I'm going to break down everything with my parents and we're going to figure this thing out, whatever is the best opportunity for me.”
Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and UCLA are among the other schools to already offer.
“It's big being a younger guy but I've got to stay humble,” Radley-Hiles said. “I'm blessed and I can't thank my parents and my brother and everybody who has been there for me.”
Radley-Hiles’ brother, Lucky Radley, played running back at Utah for four years and spent his fifth year of eligibility at San Diego State, where he is now a graduate assistant.