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Antoine Bethea

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 203 | College: Howard
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Bethea emerged from the shadows of former heralded teammate Ronald Bartell with another stellar performance as a senior. The 2005 season not only marked the third consecutive year that he led the team in tackles, but was also the third consecutive year he was selected to the American Urban Radio Network 2005 Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College All-American team. He is one of only four honorees to earn that honor three times in a career, joining Alcorn State quarterback Steve McNair (Tennessee), Howard University linebacker Tracy White (Green Bay) and Savannah State receiver Shannon Sharpe (formerly of Denver Broncos, now a CBS analyst).

Bethea was a standout defensive back, lettering three times at Denbigh High School, where he also lettered in basketball. He earned All-Area and All-Conference honors his senior year, but was not heavily recruited by the major colleges.

He enrolled at Howard University, where he appeared in five games as a reserve free safety in 2002, but managed only thirteen tackles (seven solos). He shifted to strong safety in 2002, earning All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference and All-American honors in 2003. He led the team with a career-high 109 tackles (71 solos), including a sack and four stops for losses. He recovered two fumbles, returning one for a score, caused three fumbles and blocked a punt that he returned for a touchdown.

Bethea was again named All-American and All-MEAC as a junior. He returned to free safety in 2004, leading the Bison with 99 tackles (60 solos), adding two sacks and six stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused four fumbles, deflected eight passes and intercepted three others. Bethea followed with 88 tackles (40 solos), four interceptions and six pass breakups in his final season.

In 37 games at Howard, Bethea started 31 times. He recorded 309 tackles (187 solos) with three sacks for minus-26 yards and twelve stops for losses of 63 yards. He caused seven fumbles and recovered two others, returning one 26 yards for a score. He also gained 40 yards on seven interceptions, batted away eighteen passes and returned a blocked punt 26 yards for a touchdown.


Positives: Has broad shoulders, good arm muscle definition, good bubble and the balance and body control to accelerate quickly to the ball … Has exceptional closing quickness and loose hips to turn and run on the ball coming out of his backpedal … Shows good hand usage to reroute tight ends and backs at the line of scrimmage … Breaks on the ball quickly and recognizes routes playing in the zone … Has a consistent burst to close and does a good job of sifting through traffic to locate the ball … Has the range to make plays along the sidelines and does a good job of timing his leaps to compete for the ball in the air … Will knock down more passes than he catches, but gets into good position to make the play (lacks valid hands though) … Uses his size well in run force and will deliver good pop on contact … Does a good job of keeping his pads down and shoulders square to wrap and secure … Big hitter who is very effective at attacking the ballcarrier and stripping the ball … Makes the secondary calls and does the little extras to improve, spending additional hours in the film and weight rooms.

Negatives: Has good field vision and can locate the ball working through traffic, but gets over aggressive in his play and gets caught out of position too much, especially when biting on play-action … Can turn and run on the ball, but sometimes prefers to attack it rather than stay tight with the receiver on deep routes, losing containment … Does not have ideal height, so he needs to time his leaps properly to get to the ball at its high point … Has stone hands and will double catch and bobble several easy interceptions, resulting in pass deflections instead.

Bethea is a well-built safety who can not only deliver crunching tackles, but has the speed and athletic ability to cover speedy receivers through their routes. He is effective playing the press and also shows the Cover-2 skills to make plays inside the box. He has a smooth backpedal and good hip flip to turn and run on the ball.

Bethea does a very good job of planting and coming back to the ball, showing the burst on balls in front of him. In man coverage, he is best in a shadow or trail technique, but needs to stay more on the receiver rather than trying to attack the ball. In playing the bump, he has the strength and aggressive nature to consistently reroute the receiver.

In the zone, Bethea shows good awareness and instinct and recognizes routes, but does get a little out of control at times. He can read the quarterback and make some plays on the ball in flight, but will get caught out of position and be fooled by play-action.

Bethea has very good speed to run deep with the receiver. When he is not challenged much, he can get get lazy vs. the run and can be a little slow to come up and support, but when he locates the ball, he uses his hands well to prevent from being blocked too long.

With his excellent speed, good strength and instincts, Bethea can be quite effective playing the deep zone. He has the range to close quickly on plays in front of him. He has good field smarts, but just needs to show more patience rather than get out of control when biting on play-action. He is not the complete player that former teammate Ronald Bartell is, but he does a good job of breaking down plays in the open and as he develops a better understanding for reading the quarterback, he will be a starter in this league before long.

Career Notes

Only the fourth player to ever earn the American Urban Radio Network Sheridan Broad-casting Network Black College All-American honors three consecutive times in a career, joining Alcorn State quarterback Steve McNair (Tennessee), Howard University linebacker Tracy White (Green Bay) and Savannah State receiver Shannon Sharpe (formerly of Denver Broncos, now a CBS analyst) … First player to lead the team in tackles three consecutive seasons (2003-05) … First player in school history to earn All-Mid Eastern Conference honors three times in a career.

2005 Season

Earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report and the Sheridan Broad-casting Network … All-Mid Eastern Conference first-team choice … Started all year at free safety, pacing the Bison with 88 tackles (49 solos) … Had two stops for losses of 2 yards, four interceptions and six pass deflections.

2005 Game Analysis

Winston-Salem … Deflected two passes on third-down plays and posted three hits.

Hampton … Registered eight tackles (6 solos) with 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, taking down tailback Alonzo Coleman twice for losses … Also saved a potential touchdown when he chased down and tackled Marquad McDaniel on a first quarter 49-yard punt return.

Florida A&M … Registered twelve tackles (2 solos) with a pair of third-down stops.

Savannah State … Posted three solo stops and a pass break-up.

Charleston Southern … Deflected a pass and made ten hits (7 solos).

Morgan State … Collected six tackles (3 solos) and intercepted a Byron Selby third-&-11 pass in the first quarter.

North Carolina A&T … Followed with another interception midway through the fourth quarter and nine tackles (4 solos) with a pass break-up.

Norfolk State … Posted ten tackles (6 solos) and broke up one pass.

South Carolina State … Added ten tackles (7 solos).

Bethune-Cookman … Had an eleven-tackle (7 solos) performance.

Delaware State … Closed out his career with six tackles (4 solos), a stop for a 2-yard loss and a pair of interceptions … Picked off a Vashon Winton pass in the first quarter and stole another pass away from Winton in the third quarter … Also took down tailback Billy Henderson for a 2-yard loss on a second quarter rushing attempt.

2004 Season

Sheridan Broadcasting Network All-American first-team pick, adding All-MEAC first-team accolades … Started all year at free safety, leading the team with 99 tackles (60 solos) … Had two sacks for minus 17 yards and six stops for losses of 35 yards … Caused four fumbles and deflected eight passes … Intercepted three passes for 40 yards in returns.

2004 Game Analysis

Alabama State … Opened the season with thirteen tackles (7 solos), including one for a 4-yard loss and deflected a pass.

Hampton … Added eleven hits with a stop for minus 5 yards and picked off a pass.

Alcorn State … Had another interception and five hits.

Savannah State … Registered eight solo tackles with a forced fumble and a 5-yard sack.

Charleston Southern … Returned an interception 40 yards and delivered eight tackles (7 solos).

Morgan State, North Carolina A&T and South Carolina State … Showed consistency with nine tackles and a pass deflection in each game.

Norfolk State … Caused a fumble on a 12-yard sack and was in on seven tackles (5 solos) while also batting away a pass.

Bethune-Cookman … Totaled thirteen tackles (8 solos) with a stop for a 6-yard loss, two forced fumbles and a pass break-up.

Delaware State … Finished the season with seven tackles (6 solos), including one for a 3-yard loss and also had a pass deflection.

2003 Season

All-American and All-MEAC first-team choice … Started ten games at strong safety, leading the Bison with a career-high 109 tackles (71 solos) … Had a 9-yard sack and four stops for losses of 26 yards … Recovered two fumbles, returning one 26 yards for a score … Caused three fumbles, deflected four passes and blocked a punt for a 26-yard touchdown return.

2003 Game Analysis

Texas Southern, Akron and Florida A&M … Registered thirteen tackles in each game.

Hampton … Had ten hits (8 solos) with a pair of fumble recoveries, returning one 26 yards for a touchdown.

North Carolina State and Delaware State … Totaled eleven tackles (6 solos) in each contest.

Norfolk State … Produced six hits (3 solos) and returned a blocked punt 26 yards for a score.

Bethune-Cookman … Recorded a season-high fourteen tackles (11 solos) and deflected a pass while also causing a fumble.

2002 Season

Played in five games as a reserve strong safety … Finished with thirteen tackles (7 solos).

Injury Report

No injuries reported.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.5 in the 40-yard dash … 320-pound bench press … Squats 315 pounds 20 times … 275-pound power clean … Right-handed … Wears contacts … 18/49 Wonderlic score.

Combine: 4.42 in the 40-yard dash … 2.57 20-yard dash … 1.53 10-yard dash … Bench presses 225 pounds 19 times … 36.5-inch vertical jump … 10'7" broad jump … 4.11 20-yard shuttle … 11.66 60-yard shuttle … 6.99 three-cone drill … 30 5/8-inch arm length … 9 1/8-inch hands.

High School

Attended Denbigh (Newport News, Va.) High School, playing football for head coach A.C. Cauthorn … Standout defensive back, lettering three times in football and also lettered in basketball … Earned All-Area and All-Conference honors his senior year.


Administration of Justice major … Born 7/27/84 … Resides in Newport News, Virginia.


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