Great Expectations

RaiderPower.com caught up with Miami (FL) Washington cornerback and 2014 Texas Tech signee Nigel Bethel who talked about his aspirations of greatness for both the Red Raider program and himself. The young corner may just have the right mix to make his dreams come true.

What do you get when you cross a gifted athlete with a great work ethic, supreme confidence and a giant-sized chip on his shoulder?

Apparently, you get Miami (FL) Washington cornerback and track star Nigel Bethel.

The 2014 Texas Tech signee, who decommitted from his hometown Miami Hurricanes to ink with the Red Raiders, is set to report to Lubbock on June 1, but is not sitting around relaxing. When RaiderPower.com caught up with him recently, he had just finished an extensive workout in the rain despite suffering from a cold.

"Right now I'm doing a couple track workouts because I have a meet--the Great Southwest Classic--coming up May 24 in Orlando," Bethel said. "There's going to be a lot of competition there and it's my last high school meet so I'm just getting in some real fast 60's, 30's and 90's to keep accelerating and keep up my top speed."

Bethel, who will also be running track at Texas Tech, said he will quickly switch gears from track workouts to football after the meet and is even expecting to work with some big names from the Miami area before reporting to Lubbock.

"Before I go I'm going to go get some work in with Chad Johnson, Amari Cooper from Alabama and Charles Gaines from Louisville," Bethel said.

Though Bethel has worked hard for years to attain his goals, he's also blessed with God given blazing speed. Bethel recently won Florida state championships in the the 100 meter dash (10.73 seconds), the 200 (21.22) and the 400 meter relay (41.19).

Unlike many track stars, Bethel's speed translates to the field as it allows him to take chances yet recover when necessary to make plays on the ball. That speed coupled with a supreme confidence in his abilities makes him a handful for opposing offenses.

"I'm looking forward to making a real big impact you know, coming in and shutting down every receiver I face," Bethel said. "I know coach [Kevin] Curtis is going to put me in the best situation possible so I can make a real impact and go 100 percent all the time. Really, I want to make all-conference as a freshman, lead the team in interceptions and lead the conference in interceptions."

Count Bethel's high school coach Tim "Ice" Harris, who sends about as many Division I athletes around the country as anyone, among those who believes Bethel will make an immediate impact for the Red Raiders.

"They're getting a competitor, a guy who really has a lot of confidence is his ability. He's not just a guy who talks, he's a worker, being in track the way he is and training," Harris told Scout.com on National Signing Day. "They're going to get a guy who's going to come to camp in top shape. Being in top shape and his ability to be the competitor that he is, he's going to be able to go there and really make an impact."

It's hard to knock Bethel for his confidence, he's a proven winner who in addition to the state track titles helped his high school claim a state football title and was picked by many publications, including Scout.com, as the 2013 national champs.

"Bethel possesses outstanding cover skills and plays with great instincts," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg. "He excels at watching the quarterback and reading eyes, as he can often come off his man in coverage to make plays. The best part of his game is his ability to read and react.
"Bethel breaks on the ball quickly. He has super acceleration and quickness. He can turn and run with just about anyone, showing good hips and overall speed."

The only knock on Bethel, who is listed at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, is his size.

"A lot of people consider me an undersized guy, but I feel like they are going by my size, nobody can match my heart and my confidence," Bethel said. "I'm a very high, high confidence guy and I feel like I can compete with anybody in the country."

Bethel admitted the doubters due to his lack of size has contributed to his success as he often thinks about those doubters while grinding out workouts.

"That's been the motivating factor for me," Bethel said. "Coming out of Miami football I always had to up my game because there are plenty of big receivers everywhere I go, everyday, big guys behind me aren't doing anything while I'm working. I shut down plenty of 6-6, 6-5 receivers; it's just about who wants it the most and who is going to come down with the ball."

Bethel said he can't wait to get to Lubbock and get to work with his new team. He added he is still excited about playing at Texas Tech for the same reasons he committed and signed with the Red Raiders.

"I have seen the direction coach Kliff Kingsbury has the program headed in," Bethel said. "I liked them since they offered me and was considering them and wanted to see how the season played out and things like that. They have a great track program as well as a football program, so I think I can just be a great dual-sport athlete for Texas Tech. So I just feel in my heart Texas Tech is the place I want to be."


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