Nigel Bethel II, a 3-star defensive back out of Booker T. Washington, flipped his commitment from hometown Miami to Texas Tech on Thursday evening, striking an unforeseen but manageable blow to the Hurricanes recruiting class.
Bethel tweeted the news:
No longer a university of Miami commitment— Nigel Bethel II (@_NigelBethel) January 10, 2014
I just officially committed to the University of Texas tech red raiders! #TT18— Nigel Bethel II (@_NigelBethel) January 10, 2014
He is the No. 393 overall player on the 247Sports composite, ranking 30th among cornerbacks and 49th among players from Florida. Questions about his height (5'9'') have hurt his stock with some recruiting services, though others, like Rivals.com, still rate him higher as a 4-star prospect.
Still, Bethel has some of the best pure coverage skills in the class, and he could develop into a quality slot cornerback sooner than later. He told Chris Level of Rivals that the decision to play at Texas Tech had a lot to do with just that—getting on the field ASAP:
I chose Texas Tech because it's a great opportunity for me to start early and play early. It's a great league. They throw the ball a lot...I don't know anyone there, but when I went on the visit it just felt like a family. Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury is a cool guy, very young. They will get better and the sky is the limit for that program.
Bethel isn't the only recruit Al Golden and Co. have lost recently. According to Andrew Spivey of Gator Country, 3-star running back Brandon Powell just flipped his commitment from the 'Canes to the Florida Gators.
Will Miami finish with a top-10 class?
As a result, Miami's class has dropped to No. 10 in the 247Sports team rankings, down from a previous high of No. 6. The rival Gators, who seem to be stealing recruits from everyone lately, are up to No. 7, making Miami the third-best class in the state behind Florida State at No. 4.
The 'Canes, however, still have the second-best class in the ACC, sitting six spots ahead of No. 16 Clemson. As long as their eight 4-star guys stay committed, this class will remain a successful one.
Bethel was their top-rated cornerback, though, so his loss might be felt in the Miami secondary. Fellow 3-star corner Ryan Mayes (Miami Northwestern) is now the only player at that position in the class.