- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
LaGRANGE, Ga. -- Life’s supposed to come easy for the top high school football players in the country.
That’s not been the case for Georgia linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commitment who has had to deal with a lot in the past couple of months.
Charlie Flowers, Foster’s head coach and father figure, was fired from Troup County High School in February over an apparent improper transfer of at least one football player into the school district, an act Foster believes his coach didn’t commit.
In recruiting, Foster gets asked the same questions everyday regarding where he’s going to college. Is your commitment to Alabama solid? What did your visit to Georgia mean? Why are you taking other visits?
Now he’s considering switching high schools in order to graduate early and get a head start on football, only to have more rumors surface that aren’t true. Foster wants to put an end to all of it.
“Really, I haven’t looked at any schools right now,” Foster said. “It’s just everybody’s rumor this, rumor that. It’s just big fat rumors.
“It is stressful because the rumors they put out, they can get me in a lot of trouble. It’s just bull because I can’t live my life and everything. It’s just bull because people put out bad rumors, talking about Reuben going to check out this school, knowing I can’t go check out this school.”
The fact is, Foster is strongly considering transferring high schools before his senior year, but it’s not because of his head coach’s dismissal from Troup County. It’s because Foster wants to find a school that has a plan set up for him to graduate early.
“It’s a possibility, but it’s not because of Coach Flowers,” Foster said. “It’s because I’m trying to get what’s best for me, credit-wise and academic-wise. Troup (County) High School is a nice academic school, but I just can’t graduate early.”
In fact, he and Coach Flowers talked about this possibility long before Flowers was let go. Unfortunately, the decision to fire his head coach has given Foster all the more reason to look for a new school.
Foster wouldn’t talk in detail about the alleged incident involving Flowers, but he believes his coach is innocent of what he’s being accused of.
“It hurt me because I can see if a coach leaves if he did something wrong, but if he didn’t do anything wrong and they just get rid of him, that really makes me mad. I trust him that he told me that he didn’t do anything. I trust him,” Foster said.
“In college, if a coach moves, it’s okay because they move to get better money or what not. This is high school, though. That man is like a father figure to us.”
After Flowers’ dismissal, the entire football team, Foster included, stopped showing up for workouts. It caused a division within the school. Foster still hasn’t started working out again with the rest of the team out of respect for his former coach.
Without football, Foster has used recruiting as an escape from all of the stress. The ESPNU 150 Watch List linebacker has taken visits to Alabama, Auburn and Georgia all in the last month.
Although he’s looking around at other schools, Foster insists that his commitment to Alabama remains solid. He visited Tuscaloosa last weekend for practice and may try to make a return trip again this weekend.
“I try to get there as much as I can,” Foster said. “It feels like home to me because I’m from Alabama. Sweet home Alabama. I just love it.”
Foster still has one more year of high school football left before he can suit up for the Crimson Tide, and he now has to find the school that’s best for him and his future.