University of Miami

Former Northwestern cornerback Nigel Bethel Jr. announces intention to transfer from Miami

University of Miami redshirt freshman defensive back Nigel Bethel Jr. (27) crashes against the tackle pad during fall practice at Greentree Field in Coral Gables on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
University of Miami redshirt freshman defensive back Nigel Bethel Jr. (27) crashes against the tackle pad during fall practice at Greentree Field in Coral Gables on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. dvarela@miamiherald.com

The Miami Hurricanes’ cornerbacks depth — and special teams — took a hit Friday. Nigel Bethel Jr., a redshirt freshman cornerback, announced Friday he put his name in the transfer portal just a week before Miami opens the season against the Florida Gators on Aug. 24 in Orlando.

Bethel, who starred as a wide receiver at Northwestern before he moved to the secondary for the Hurricanes, announced his intention to transfer on Twitter.

“Thank you to coach Manny Diaz, Ephraim Banda and the rest of the coaching staff at the University of Miami for the opportunity and experience to play for and attend the University of Miami,” Bethel wrote on Twitter. “But as of now I have entered my name in the Transfer portal and my recruitment is open.”

As of Friday, the 6-foot, 175-pound athlete from Miami is still listed on the Hurricanes’ roster.

Bethel played in only one game as a freshman, against the FCS Savannah State Tigers, as he transitioned from receiver to defensive back. He recorded one tackle and broke up one pass in his lone appearance in 2018.

He was, however, in line for a more significant role as a redshirt freshman. Junior Trajan Bandy and sophomores Al Blades Jr. and DJ Ivey are Miami’s top three cornerbacks, which left Bethel to compete with freshmen Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams for the final spot or two in the Hurricanes’ rotation.

Couch, in particular, has drawn consistent praise from coaches for his play backing up Bandy in the slot and he grabbed an interception in Miami’s second scrimmage Saturday. Williams, whom the Hurricanes flipped from the Alabama Crimson Tide on National Signing Day in February, could also get more opportunities as a backup for Bandy, Blades and Ivey at the outside cornerback positions.

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