Bethel in the 2013 preseason.
|No. 28 Arizona Cardinals|
|Date of birth:||June 17, 1990|
|Place of birth:||Sumter, South Carolina|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school:||Blythewood (SC)|
|NFL draft:||2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 177|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2014|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Justin Andrew Bethel (born June 17, 1990) is an American football cornerback and special teamer for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He played college football for Presbyterian College.
Bethel was born in Sumter, South Carolina and at age 6 he moved with his family to Columbia. As a child, Bethel started playing drums. He started playing football at age 11 when he was in sixth grade. He attended Blythewood High School where in 2007 he was named Blythewood's Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Defensive Player. He helped the team win the State Championship in 2006.
Bethel did not receive much interest from college football programs, and he planned to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, until his high school coach was hired to be a coach for the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Bethel decided to attend Presbyterian, and majored in Business Administration.
Bethel played in 12 games during his freshman season, amassing 54 tackles and 37 solo tackles. He had 2 interceptions and two blocked kicks.
2009 was a breakout season for Bethel. He had a team-best 79 tackles during 11 games, 55 of which were solo. He blocked 3 kicks, two in a game against Gardner–Webb University. He also forced one fumble and had 4.5 tackles for a loss. For his efforts, he was named to the Big South Conference All-Conference Second-Team Defensive squad.
Bethel caught the attention of pro scouts with a strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game, and because of a YouTube video showing him making a vertical leap onto boxes five feet high. At the NFL Combine his meaured vertical leap of 39½ inches was the highest of any defensive player. Ultimately he was drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round, making him the first Presbyterian player chosen in the NFL Draft since 1969. On December 23, 2012 week 16 against the Chicago Bears, Bethel recovered Olindo Mare's blocked field goal and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown, though Chicago won 28-13.
In 2013 Justin Bethel became Presbyterian College's first ever Pro Bowler. In the 2013 season he recorded 18 special-teams tackles while blocking two field goals and forcing two more field goal misses. He is considered by Pro Football Focus the best special-teams player in the NFL.
In 2014, team reporter Darren Urban announced that Bethel gave up his number 31 to Antonio Cromartie and took 28, which was worn the 2013 season by running back Rashard Mendenhall, who retired from the NFL 2013 offseason.
- "Pro Football Reference Profile". pro-football-reference.com.
- Gaiter, Joe (May 3, 2012). "Justin Bethel’s Road to the NFL". Expanded Sports. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- Weinfuss, Josh (September 28, 2013). "What’s the Fuss with ... Justin Bethel". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- "Justin Bethel, Presbyterian, NFL Draft". CBSSports.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- Josh Kendall, "Bethel ready to cook in new career: A baker by trade, former PC star could have NFL future", The State, February 27, 2012.
- Darren Rovell, "Draft Sleeper Justin Bethel Turns Heads By Jumping Five Feet In The Air, CNBC.com, April 23, 2012.
- "Arizona finally addresses line with Saturday picks", Associated Press at SI.com, April 28, 2012.
- "Blythewood's Bethel Agrees To Contract With Cardinals", WLTX, May 15, 2012.
- McManaman, Bob (2012-12-23). "Bears 28, Cardinals 13". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-12-23.