The narrative of "give Mike Riley a chance, he's rolling in recruiting right now" just took a hit.
Late Tuesday night, Brendan Radley-Hiles, the top rated prospect in the Huskers 2018 recruiting class, announced his de-commitment via Twitter:
— .44 (@Bookie_44) November 1, 2017
Radley-Hiles recently took a visit to Oklahoma, and has plans to visit Clemson in the near future. Programs that both found themselves in the top ten of the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.
Schools that have seen a combined 35 players drafted into the NFL since 2015. Nebraska has had eight.
Programs, that quite frankly, are at a different level than the Huskers right now.
Simply put, Nebraska can't afford this kind of thing right now. More specifically, Mike Riley can't afford too much more of this kind of thing and expect to have top-notch job security moving forward.
Winning at Purdue aside, the current team isn't inspiring a lot of hope on the field at the moment. Losing a blue chipper like Radley-Hiles in the middle of a "should he stay or should he go" coaching firestorm among the fans makes the notion of building towards the future a tougher sell among skeptics and supporters alike.
Would Radley-Hiles have turned Nebraska into a title contender overnight? No, certainly not. But, he probably would have played next season. A lot. In a spot Nebraska desperately needs help.
And while there's always a question of whether a 17-year old kid is going to turn into a great college player, by all accounts Radley-Hiles had an above average chance to be an above average player.
The loss also plummets Nebraska to 49th in the 247Sports.com Composite class rankings, and leaves them with just 10 verbal commitments (what does "commitment" even really mean at this point, anyway?). That's 10th in the Big Ten, and below the likes of Cincinnati, Duke, USF, and Virginia. Yuck.
If you're trying to sell a narrative of hope for the future, those numbers don't help.
Losing a commitment of this caliber isn't the nail in the coffin of Riley's career at Nebraska, not by any means - nor should it be. But it's certainly something to put in the negative column, which is filling up rapidly for many fans.
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