Hornets Notebook: Bethea ready to step up as Delaware State quarterback

Tylik Bethea

DOVER — Tylik Bethea enrolled in college before he even went to his high school prom or attended his graduation ceremony.

The Delaware State University freshman graduated high school early and joined the Hornets for the spring semester starting this past January.

It meant the 18-year-old had a full semester of college football under his belt prior to the Hornets beginning preseason camp in August.

Bethea did take a short break in June of course. He went back to Abraham Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y. for prom and to receive his diploma.

Hornet head coach Rod Milstead said Bethea’s early enrollment is a huge reason the true freshman had such a successful debut for the Hornets last Thursday during DSU’s defeat at the University of Delaware. Bethea was pressed into action when junior Shayne Smith was injured and ended up throwing the first touchdown pass of his career.

With Smith sidelined, Bethea is now the DSU starter.

“Him coming in January was probably the best blessing we got,” Milstead said. “He was able to go through spring ball. You talk about an 18-year-old kid who was in college in January before he even walked at his high school graduation. It was a blessing for him and us. We had no doubt that when Shayne went down that Tylik was ready.”

Bethea finished with 137 yards through the air on 10-of-18 attempts during his first Division I game. His longest pass was for 36 yards.

Smith meanwhile had surgery on his broken left thumb on Tuesday. The injury is to his non-throwing hand but Milstead said it will still be a couple of weeks before the staff knows if Smith will be able to return.

“We got to let that thing heal,” Milstead said. “I don’t know many quarterbacks who can play with a cast, even on the opposite hand. They’ve got to grip the ball. Going forward, Tylik is the guy. When Shayne gets healthy and ready to go, we’ll address that but right now Tylik is our quarterback.”

Early bye week

After a month of camp, the Hornets played one game and now have to wait 16 days before their next contest.

Delaware State’s bye week is the second week of the year this season. The Hornets’ next game isn’t until Saturday, Sept. 14 when they host Lincoln (Pa.), a Division II school, in DSU’s home opener (4 p.m.).

“It’s a great thing for us,” Milstead said. “You look at teams in Division II, those guys go 11 weeks straight with no bye. That’s what I shared with our guys. We have that bye week to make corrections. Delaware was a good game for us, it was a good test. We saw some things, some mental stuff we need to take care of. We’ll take some time this week to rework some things and come out a better football team.”

Milstead said one of the best parts of the early bye is the Hornets will use the week to heal some nagging injuries from training camp or any minor ailments the Hornets picked up against Delaware.

That includes senior linebacker Brian Cavicante, the Preseason MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, who missed some series against Delaware due to cramping.

“We’ll rest some guys,” Milstead said. “We had some bumps and bruises in camp like everyone else.”

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