When coming out of high school in Blythewood, South Carolina, not many people were talking about Justin Bethel. It wasn't because he didn't have good skills, but because it was such a small place. Thankfully for Justin, his head coach at Blythewood High was given a job at Presbyterian College in Justin's junior year. The next year after finishing up in high school, only two teams came knocking on the door for the potential late round steal. Charleston Southern offered a partial scholarship, and Presbyterian offered a full ride. Justin was just so thankful for the opportunity to go play college football for his old ball coach. It wouldn't take long, before Justin was on the field making plays.Bethel started all four years for the Presbyterian College Blue Hose as a defensive back. Bethel is a very effective pass and run defender, and is physical when tackling and also when up working on the line of scrimmage in man. He has athletic ability that translates well to reacting to the ball in man, and the explosiveness to come down field and make plays in zone. Bethel was in the running for the infamous Buck Buchanan Award this year, but came up short. Justin became the first player in Presbyterian school history to be invited to the East/West Shrine Game as well as the NFL Scouting Combine. Bethel had pretty impressive stats at the combine, but learned from scouts that they might see him as a safety rather than a corner. I had time to talk with Justin in an exclusive interview today, and found out more about the upcoming draft pick.
What was your most memorable moment coming out of, In Blythewood High School, in South Carolina?
When we won the state my junior year, It was a great feeling winning the state championship
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
There was only I had a half scholarship from Charleston Southern, Presbyterian offered me a full ride.
Why did you choose Presbyterian over the other programs?
My coach my junior year at high school went to Presbyterian to become the coach, and he offered me a scholarship on a full ride. I felt like it was a very good and easy decision for me to make.
What was your most memorable moment at the Presbyterian?
This year, when I was playing against Cal when I blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. It was my first ever touchdown and it was a great feeling.
Who was the toughest player you ever played up against?
The wide receiver from Cal (Marvin Jones), I didn’t get to cover him as much, because they had me at Safety. He was very athletic, and made some pretty amazing catches.
What was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened in your life? How did you overcome it?
There really hasn’t been anything traumatic that has happened to me, I have been blessed to say the least.
What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
I really didn’t have a favorite team, my family really didn’t watch that much football. We always were doing things together. My dad is an Eagles fan, so if I had to pick a team, I would say the Eagles.
Who in the NFL would say, your game is most like and why?
Darrelle Revis, he is a great coverage guy, and he is very physical. I am that same way, I am always covering the best players on the field and I am not afraid to come down and make a tackle.
If you could meet one person dead or alive; who would it be and why?
My dad’s mom, she passed away when he was seventeen, and I always heard about her, and that would definitely be the person that I would want to meet. I just always heard so many great things about her, I would want to have her in my life.
If it was your last meal on earth, what would it be?
Steak from my Dad, with some Sweet Potatoes, one of my grandma’s Sweet potato pies, collard greens, and some mash potatoes.
Have you been hearing where NFL teams have you projected in the draft?
I have heard so many things, I have seen some people tell me 4th – 7th, to free agent, I try not to put too much thought into it. I am just ready to start camp already.
What NFL teams talked with you this year?
I have talked with every team, I have talked with everybody, especially going to the combine, it was exciting and I was able to talk with someone on every team.
After the combine, What were teams saying more at a Safety or a Corner?
More and more teams are starting to see me as a Safety, I can play both, but I think more and more teams are starting to see me as a Safety.
When you talk with NFL teams, what do you tell them you will bring to their team?
Be somebody, who will work hard. I am going to make plays, but one thing that is different than any other players, is how much of a difference I am going to make around special teams. I am always around the ball on special teams, punt returns, and I have blocked punts. I like playing special teams, and I feel that I bring that much more to the table.
What separates you from other players at your position who are also entering the Draft?
Special teams, I am a good cover corner, and am good at safety as well, but I am great at Special Teams. I am always around the ball, and block punts and get in the kickers head. I really love helping my team out on all sides of the ball.
Do you have any pre game rituals?
Not really, I am more of a loose guy, I concentrate on what I have to do, the closer I get to the game, I get more and more focused.
If you could pick a different sport and be a pro, what would you pick?
Do you have any hobbies?
I play the drums, I have been playing the drums since I was 6 year olds. I play for the Jazz band here at school. It would definitely be the first thing I buy for my new apartment.
If you were to find a genie lamp and get three wishes, what would they be?
My first wish, would be to go back in time and talk myself to change some of my decisions in life, my second wish would be that I could dance really good, and my last wish would be to stay healthy. I want to be a hundred percent, no problems, no injuries, and no sickness.
Fill in the blank, In ten years from now, I will be ________________________?
traveling the world
I would like to personally thank Justin, for taking time out of his busy training schedule to do such a great interview. We all here at Mocking the Draft, wish you the best of luck in your path to the draft.
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