INDIANAPOLIS -- Justin Bethel of Presbyterian is the first player from the tiny Clinton, S.C., school to be invited to the Scouting Combine. A 5-11, 196-pound defensive back, he projects to cornerback but has the range to slide to safety.
But bet your socks the Blue Hose star -- yes, that's the Presbyterian team name -- will find his way into a role on special teams.
He blocked nine kicks in four seasons and said he was just as prolific in high school with his 76 3/4-inch wingspan.
"My senior year I had four or five blocks," he said. "I don't know. It's just something I've had a knack … I get a real good start-off coming off the edge, two or three steps I'm jumping. Because of my kind of long body I can get there. So it's just a knack for it. It's something I've been doing."
Football has almost always been secondary for Bethel. He was more interested in carving chicken than dissecting Xs and Os.
"To tell you the truth, I got a half-scholarship (offer) from Charleston Southern. But I was like, I'll wait," he said. "It was funny, because I wasn't even planning on playing football after high school. I was going to go to Johnson & Wells for culinary arts. Because I had taken culinary classes for the past three years in high school. But I would have had to pay for it. Football was free. Football vs. having to pay for it. I said, I'll take the free."