Washington lost a pair of established defensive backs in Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor this offseason.
But business is booming in the Husky secondary all the same.
On Tuesday, Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles — a 5-foot-9 junior who made 32 starts across the last three seasons at Oklahoma — announced he will transfer to Washington this spring. Radley-Hiles will have two seasons of remaining eligibility in Seattle.
Radley-Hiles is UW’s fourth transfer portal addition this offseason — joining Colorado State quarterback Patrick O’Brien, Texas Tech wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk and Texas A&M outside linebacker Jeremiah Martin.
Of course, the Huskies have also lost five players to the portal: wide receivers Puka Nacua (BYU), Ty Jones (Fresno State) and Jordan Chin (Sacramento State), and quarterbacks Jacob Sirmon (Central Michigan) and Ethan Garbers (UCLA).
And this is far from Radley-Hiles’ first time switching schools. The former Sooner standout played prep ball at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) High School, Calabasas (Calif.) High School and IMG Academy in Florida, and verbally committed to Nebraska before ultimately signing with Oklahoma. He also had scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, USC, UCLA and many more.
In “Bookie,” the Huskies are getting a hard-hitter with 115 career tackles, 14 passes defended, nine tackles for loss and three interceptions in three collegiate seasons. They’re getting a guy who was ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 7 cornerback nationally and the No. 46 overall player in the 2018 class by 247Sports.
Most likely, they’re getting Molden’s heir apparent at nickelback.
But that isn’t to say Radley-Hiles won’t be pushed at the position. UW returns an all-league corner in rising junior Trent McDuffie, and junior Kyler Gordon has the athleticism to succeed at cornerback, nickelback or safety. The Huskies also bring back three safeties — Asa Turner, Cameron Williams and Alex Cook — with starting experience, and guys like Dominique Hampton, Kamren Fabiculanan, Julius Irvin and Jacobe Covington could realistically enter the secondary rotation as well.
Though the majority of his experience has come at nickelback, Radley-Hiles could conceivably compete at safety as well.
Regardless of who plays, or where, the standard stays the same. Washington has allowed just 30 passing touchdowns since 2018, the fewest among all FBS defenses. Unsurprisingly, UW also led the Pac-12 in passing defense (185 yards allowed per game) and opponent yards per pass attempt (6.3) in an impressive four-game sample last season.
Under the steady watch of second-year Husky coach Jimmy Lake, seven UW DBs — including Budda Baker, Kevin King, Sidney Jones, Byron Murphy and Taylor Rapp — have been drafted since 2014, with Molden and Taylor likely to follow.
That pedigree likely played a part in selling Radley-Hiles on UW.
And now it’s time for the Husky transfer to grab the baton.