When the news broke Tuesday evening that Brendan Radley-Hiles was entering the transfer portal, the reaction was mixed.
Lincoln Riley is firmly in Radley-Hiles’ camp however, leaving the door open on the former 5-star taking the field for the Sooners next season.
“I certainly hope his career is not over,” Riley said Wednesday during a National Signing Day video press conference. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
Radley-Hiles entered Oklahoma with colossal expectations, thrown into the fire his first year as a starting safety.
“He walked into a defensive situation that year that a was very tough and a lot of that got put on him from the public, certainly not within these walls,” Riley said.
Rebounding from an up-and-down freshman year, Radley-Hiles maintained his starting spot his next two years on campus, where he was fairly productive.
Radley-Hiles totaled 115 tackles and three interceptions throughout his career at Oklahoma, including a pick-six against South Dakota in 2019.
The 5-foot-8, defensive back always tried to play bigger than his size, resulting in his fair share of penalties, which drew criticism from fans.
But Riley said is pleased with how Radley-Hiles has played during his time in Norman.
“He’s had a good impact here,” Riley said. “The people here within the walls probably understand that a whole lot better than the people outside.”
The product of IMG Academy Brandenton, FL native’s impact might be felt most off the field, as Radley-Hiles has had a hand in setting the culture of the program, Riley said.
“He’s been a huge part of just kind of our culture of helping young players. He’s done a great job of being involved with recruits and hosting guys on campus,” Riley said. “He’s been a great student and a great ambassador to our program.
“If we can get the same amount of contributions out of all our players that we have out go him, then we’re gonna get, we’re gonna get much better in a hurry.”
If Radley-Hiles does ultimately leave Oklahoma, he has a large fan club he’s leaving behind.
“He’s been fantastic here. If he does decide to leave, then I’ll be his biggest fan and I think he’ll have a lot of fans around here,” Riley said.
“If he decides to stay, which is what I certainly hope happens, then we’re gonna have one good, once great last ride together.”