Who Will Get Lucky?

The competition between South Carolina and Clemson runs deep within the Palmetto State, but there is a new West Coast twist to the storied rivalry, as one of California's most talented sons have added both schools to his "short list" after visiting the two schools this weekend. Read inside as Lucky Radley and his mother talk about their visit to USC after previously visiting Clemson.

Lucky Radley's mother Brenda determined while she was pregnant with her fifth child that the child was going to be named Lucky, whether boy or girl. What she got was a talented son whose skill on the football field has attracted interest and offers from major college football programs coast-to-coast, including South Carolina, and earlier this week, Clemson. The program that eventually lands him may be the lucky one.

Whichever school he chooses, he plans to enroll early and be on campus in January. As far as a timetable for making a decision, Radley said, "I'm not rushing it, but hopefully sooner than later. I'm going to evaluate all the schools that offer me. Location isn't a factor. I'm going to see where the best fit for me is, and where I'm most comfortable. Academics are going to be a big part of my decision."

Radley's offer list has now grown to double digits. He received a written offer from the Gamecocks while on campus, and a verbal offer from the Tigers while on their campus. After his visit to South Carolina, Radley said, "I'm not naming any favorites right now, but they're on my short list. I interacted with the quarterbacks coach (GA Mangus). He was really cool. Coach (Lorenzo) Ward and (head) Coach Spurrier took me on the tour. They're both really cool, great guys; I liked them a lot. Coach Ward, he's really funny. Coach Spurrier, he's great. I feel really comfortable around them." Radley said an official visit to South Carolina is possible, but he is not yet sure about it.

One major factor that is in the Gamecocks' favor with the talented player is that South Carolina plays in the SEC. "Playing in the SEC is big," he said. "I believe it's the toughest conference in college football, period. They're a great school, and I like them being in the SEC a lot. That's pretty big."

How did the two schools compare? "I like both schools a lot. They're both now on my short list. There are different things I like about Clemson, and things I like about South Carolina." One thing that stuck out to Radley about South Carolina's academics was that their international business school is ranked #2 nationally. He plans to be a business major.

The visits to the two major programs in the Palmetto State was the first time Lucky's mother Brenda was able to go with her son on out-of-town visits to the schools that are recruiting him, though she did see UCLA locally. It meant a lot to the player to have his mom be able to be there to evaluate the schools. He asked that included in the story would be this message: "Thanks, Mom. I love you!"

Mrs. Radley listed what she wanted to find out about schools while on a visit and described the answers she found at South Carolina and Clemson. "I was looking for a comfortable environment for him, where he had a good relationship with the coaches, and their academic program. They were able to answer all my questions today (at Carolina) and (earlier at Clemson.) I was very comfortable with both of those schools."

She described the differences she saw in the two schools. "Clemson – the whole town is about football," she said. "Literally, I see old women in their hats, and they have on their orange. Everything is about football. I'm in real estate, and the real estate office there is ‘Tiger Remax.' Everything is orange and has the paws. I've been in small towns, but I've never seen a small town environment where everything is football. It's the biggest thing there."

About her visit to South Carolina, she said, "They are totally different. What I like about South Carolina is it is a major city and they don't have an NFL team, therefore it is all about football there as well. The facilities at both schools are state-of-the art. I'm sure the NFL locker rooms don't look that good. It blew me away, the facilities and everything, it's just unbelievable. They have spent millions of dollars on the facilities, (laughing) they are exempt from the recession. I have seen one pro locker room before, but it couldn't compete with that, either one of the schools. And both stadiums hold about 85,000."

The facilities were not the only thing that caught Mom's attention, however. "I met a lot of the (South Carolina) coaches, but one in particular, Lorenzo Ward, stood out." she said. "He has only been there since January. I kind of interviewed him, what made his decision to come to South Carolina, having been at (played at) Alabama and other schools, and having coached in the NFL. Some of the things that he said were the same things I was looking for in a school to choose for Lucky. I was looking for a good support team, in school, and tutors, because I'm not going to be there. Both of them have great support staffs. At South Carolina, they told me they know whenever he will be taking a test, and if he misses a class, they'll know it before he gets out of class. They are not going to let him fall any kind of way."

Radley plays both running back and cornerback at the high school level, but projects as a safety at the next level. USC is recruiting him as an athlete. He told Scout.com that he likes playing safety. "I like playing defense, I like playing defense, I like to hit, but running back is more natural to me."

If South Carolina or Clemson gets a commitment from Radley, it might come down to the Palmetto State winner being lucky that USA Track and Field chose nearby Greensboro for the Junior Olympics National Track and Field Championships. Lucky Radley and his family came east from their California home to watch Radley's younger brother run in the 4x100 Meter Relay as a member of the Southern Cal Running Cougars. The unofficial visits to the two schools were set up spontaneously while the family was out here.

Attention college coaches - 2017 athlete alert: According to both Lucky and his Mother, the younger brother Brendan, who goes by Bookie (pronounced Boo-Key), may be the best athlete of the bunch. Mrs. Radley said, "My older two boys are athletes, but Lucky has outshined them. I don't know about Bookie, Bookie might get them all." Bookie, who will turn ten on Tuesday, got high praise from his big brother as well. "That's my little protégé," Lucky said with obvious affection. "He's going to be better than Lucky Radley."

Lucky Radley and his family will return home to Southern California on Sunday, carrying offers from two of the South's major football programs, and some big decisions to make in the near future. Radley has a lot of offers on the table, not just from the two Palmetto State rivals, but Mrs. Radley talked about making a decision between the two schools: "Coming from a big city (LA), there's an airport ten miles away, there are big malls, (in Columbia) etc. (South Carolina) is not a big difference (from home.) At Clemson, it is a big difference, and I'm liking that too. I told Lucky, ‘This is a hard one. Both of these, we have to weigh out everything.'"

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