Vero Beach, Fla.--One of the top defensive end prospects in the country and the son of a former University of Miami standout, four-star and Scout 300 player Patrick Bethel will be in Auburn this weekend for an official visit to check out the Tigers.
With offers from all over the country and a group of top programs on his list of schools as he prepares to graduate early and enroll in January, Bethel said it was important for him to see Auburn and get a feel for what the program and university is all about.
“I know academically they are a pretty good school and they have a good football team,” the 6-4, 255 Bethel said. “That is one of the things that interests me. I’m taking the visit because I would like to know more about the school. I’m going to learn a lot on this visit to help me see where they stand with me.”
Already with a strong bond with Auburn defensive coaches Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson from their days at Florida in addition to his recruiting coach Scott Fountain from Auburn, Bethel said having the opportunity to play for a coach like Muschamp is one of the positives about the Tigers at the moment.
“I’ve talked to Coach Muschamp a few times,” Bethel said. “That would be pretty cool (playing for him). I know he’s had some success at all the places he’s been and has quite the track record. If I were to play for somebody like him that would be pretty cool.”
Something else that could work in Auburn’s favor is the need for immediate help on the defensive line from guys who can rush the passer. This season the Tigers have just 11 sacks in seven games and only one player has more than one this year. While the thought of early playing time is appealing, Bethel said for him it’s not a concern no matter where he winds up.
“It’s one of those things for me, I don’t care if they put me whatever depth, I’m going to earn my spot,” Bethel said. “At the next level I’m going to work to the point that I’m going to make them put me on the field.
“They’re going to look at me and realize they’ve got to find a spot for me on the field. Depth is not really the most important thing for me because I’m not in fear of any kind of competition or work to get my spot. It’s cool, but it’s not the most important thing.”
Because he is graduating early and will be a mid-year signee, Bethel said it makes the next few weeks very important for him in terms of making visits. With no set timetable for his decision he said he’s hoping to make his decision in the next month or so.
“I haven’t set them all up yet,” Bethel said of his visits. “The ones I’m taking now, I’ve got Tennessee, LSU and maybe one to Florida State and Miami. My dad sets those up so I just want to kind of get around and see some schools so I can make this decision.”