Not many, if any, college football players have had the week that now-former Utah Utes running back Lucky Radley has. It’s not every day that you see your name linked to a manifesto of accused killer Elliot Rodger for actions you committed back in middle school. Sometimes things just don’t make sense, like seeing Radley’s name mentioned in a manifesto because he happened to be popular with all the girls in eighth grade.
Radley handled that bizarre situation as best he could last week--as we all did--after hearing that Rodger allegedly stabbed and murdered three people inside his own apartment complex before jumping in his car and allegedly killing three others inside a Santa Barbara, Calif. Convenience store.
The whole thing made absolutely no sense whatsoever, as did Radley’s strange decision to leave Utah to play at San Diego State on Monday, June 2. Radley decided he had had enough of Utah and made the decision to transfer to San Diego State to give himself a chance at a career in the NFL.
At Utah last season, Radley rushed for 284 yards and two touchdowns, averaging a team-high 4.8 yards every time he carried the football. Although Radley was not at the bottom of the depth chart, the Utes did add several running backs to their lineup this spring--and more are coming this fall.
Maybe Radley thought that time, and life, can often be shorter than you expect it. Maybe he came upon the idea while watching a childhood acquaintance from his hometown of Woodland Hills, Calif--a kid that he grew up with and occasionally played with--do something so drastic, so final.
In a way, Radley’s decision was too. Like Rodger’s insane murderous spree--albeit to a lesser degree--Radley gave no warning prior to making his decision. Even if he didn’t really know Rodger--save for a few instances during childhood--Radley still could have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the ordeal, simply because he knew Rodger.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the person or persons who develop PTSD “may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.”
In Radley’s case, Rodger certainly wasn’t a stranger. The two lived three doors down from each other growing up. That said, not every person affected by a traumatic event actually develops full-blown PTSD, and nobody really knows what led to Radley making his mind up to leave Utah. Maybe Radley had planned on leaving the Utes football program for some time.
Radley graduated from the University of Utah last year with a degree in sociology, so even though he’s a senior he will still have two years of eligibility remaining at SDSU. Good luck to him going forward, and may he have the career he's always wanted with the Aztecs.