Khoury Bethley draws college interest in move to running back

San Jose State and Bethley have mutual interest after a strong start to his junior season.

Khoury Bethley of Chino, Calif., Don Lugo High originally had intentions of burying his shoulders into ball carriers and carve out a future career at safety. But his pulverizing hits and running production on offense have turned the Class of 2018 prospect into a rising sensation at running back; piquing the interest of San Jose State.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bethley has brought inside aggression to the Conquistador rushing attack, with the junior exploding through open holes like a shot cannon ball and leaving defenders gasping for air with his reported 4.65 40-yard dash time.  

Bethley is still open to playing safety at the next level, but he doesn’t mind running over safeties in college.

“I don’t let anyone bring me down right away. I’m old school,” Bethley told Scout when asked to describe his play in the offensive backfield. “My main strengths are my vision and my ability to get the hard yards after contact.”

Bethley shows just that in his highlight film, relying on his eyes, low pad level and elusiveness to shed past defenders. The 3.0 student, though, knows that he’s not a complete running back just yet.

“I still need to improve on a couple of things, especially blocking just as far as blitz pick up and helping prevent our quarterback from rolling out,” Bethley said.

Bethley said Spartans defensive back coach Will Harris has reached out to him.

“He’s asked how my season is going and wants me to take an unofficial visit,” Bethley said.

He adds that he likes the Spartans’ past history of producing NFL caliber talent including Houston Texans running back Tyler Ervin, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Akeem King and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Peyton Thompson.

“That’s huge for me, them producing guys for the next level. It’s huge. It makes you want to go there,” Bethley said.

While Bethley is open about the Silicon Valley Mountain West program, he has drawn other interest from Montana State, Idaho State and Eastern Washington; all Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs.

He currently has helped Don Lugo get off to a 4-2 start, which includes the stunning 48-18 rout on Oct. 7 against a team that had no previous history of losing to the Conquistadores until now: Ontario-Colony, which featured Arizona commit Nathan Tilford and was a game that saw Bethley break off a 46-yard reception and 36-yard run.

“That was a big team win for us,” Bethley said. “Everybody knew the significance of this game and what it meant. We had a great week of practice and a great game plan. Everybody was focused and did their job and we came out successful. This game definitely set the tone for league and we just need to keep getting better and learn from our mistakes.”

Bethley still has some goals intact following the 30-point trouncing of Colony, saying: “As far as running back is concerned, I want to rush for over 1,300 yards and get 20 touchdowns. On defense, it’s finish with over 70 tackles and have four interceptions.”

And, in a region that has Tilford, five-star Stephen Carr of Fontana-Summit and Corona-Centennial’s Miles Reed, does Bethley feel like he’s a sleeper in the Inland Empire?

“Yes, I do feel like I’m getting slept on,” Bethley said. “I think it’s because I go to a small school but I’m putting up big numbers.”  

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