The Arizona State Sun Devils may have had a historically poor recruiting class when it comes to high school prospects, but they’ve been making noise when it comes to transfer gate acquisitions. University of Hawaii safety Khoury Bethley, a three-year starter and 2021 All-Mountain West first-team selection, is the latest to announce he’s heading to Tempe after making it Saturday night.
Bethley still has a year of eligibility left and is expected to fight for a starting spot right away with the Sun Devils graduating from their first two at that position in Evan Fields and DeaAndre Pierce.
Bethley, who previously earned his degree in kinesiology and was a two-time all-conference draft pick, said he will be on campus for spring football in March.
“It was really Coach Herm (Edwards) and all of his experience at the top level,” Bethley said. “The end of the game is to play at the next level. It’s something I want to do and I think he can help me elevate my game. He has a lot of coaches in his team who have experience at the next level too, so I think I can learn a lot from them.”
Bethley, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, only entered the transfer portal on Jan. 15 but has attracted interest from schools at all Power Five conferences. He was also strongly considering Oregon and Mississippi.
Not only did Bethley speak to Edwards, but he also had discussions with new defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher, as well as Marvin Lewis and Donnie Henderson, who are both former NFL coaches who worked with Edwards at various titles with the defense.
He said proximity to home also made a difference.
“It’s my last year of college football, so my family will be able to come and see me play. That helped me too,” he said.
Last season, Bethley recorded 100 tackles with a team-high five interceptions, 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles, eight quarterback rushes, six pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
In 2020, he recorded 70 tackles, six breakups, nine tackles for loss and three sacks.
Bethley started on both sides of the ball at Don Lugo High School in Chino, Calif., about 30 miles west of where ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels went to high school. Bethley said he didn’t know Daniels well but played against him in 7-on-7 leagues.
Bethley was a star safety and running back, but was drafted by Hawaii as a safety. As a high school student, he was the MVP of the Mt. Baldy League and a First Team All-Region selection by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. He rushed for 1,430 yards and 19 touchdowns while racking up 75 tackles, six sacks and a fumble recovery. He finished his career with 3,674 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns.
Bethley was also an outstanding baseball player.
He acknowledged that the turmoil in Hawaii, which led to a coaching change, also played a role in his departure. As ASU deals with its own issues, Bethley said a change of scenery is needed.
“I talked about it a lot with my family and really decided that I needed a different environment. I’m really excited about this opportunity to play in the Pac-12,” he said.
Much was made of ASU’s signing class, which included just six high school players and was ranked last in the Pac-12 and outside the national top 100.
However, Bethley is the ninth Division I that ASU is adding. The Sun Devils transfer class ranks 18th nationally and 3rd in the Pac-12 behind USC and UCLA. Other key players ASU was able to bring in include running back Xazavian Valladay from Wyoming and nose tackle Nesta Jade Silvera from Miami, both of whom are also in immediate need.
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