- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
It was not an average Thursday for Mark Lyons. When you coach ESPN 150 receiver Robert Foster (Monaca, Pa./Central Valley), there are hardly any quiet days, but Nov. 1 was wilder than others.
The No. 2 receiver and No. 23 player nationally, Foster tweeted he was ready to make a decision. He just came off an official visit to Alabama and tweeted his father likes the Crimson Tide while his mother would prefer to see him at Pittsburgh.
“It took half of my morning away from school,” Lyons said with a smile. “I had to go see him right away.”
Following that, Foster tweeted his statement was premature and a commitment was not coming. He reiterated that Friday night.
“I’m still waiting, trying to make sure I go to the right place,” he said.
The visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., the weekend of Oct. 26 clearly made an impact on Pennsylvania’s top prospect, however. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver was blown away on his first official visit and third overall trip to Alabama and said the Tide are squarely in the hunt with Pittsburgh and Ohio State.
“I love Alabama. They made me feel comfortable, Coach [Nick] Saban is a good a coach,” Foster said. “I got a real good relationship with Alabama.
“And it’s nice weather. I don’t like this cold weather,” added Foster, who stood on the sidelines all game this weekend with temperatures low enough that snow flurries were seen pregame.
While Foster enjoyed the game day atmosphere at Alabama, Central Valley receivers coach and close family friend Adam Caltury said the biggest thing the visit did for Foster was to hear the Tide’s current players’ opinions on playing there.
“He got to hear a player’s perspective and more than anything that’s important to hear what they think about the place,” said Caltury, who went on the visit with Foster.
Pitt has often been rumored to lead for Foster as he lives about 45 minutes north of the city. Foster said he is more than willing to leave the area, though.
“I definitely could see myself leaving home. Like leaving home is becoming a man and that’s the whole point of leaving -- to see if you’re capable of becoming a man,” Foster said. “I’m here to become a man. I want to grow up and be a man and fight my own battles and be able to do things on my own even when I’m in the struggle.
“So maybe being far away is the best for me and maybe staying home is best for me.”
Foster will be back on the field this weekend after he was forced to sit out Central Valley’s one-point win in the opening round of the playoffs. In the regular-season finale, Foster was flagged for a personal foul twice -- one for a late hit and one for getting into a shouting match with another player. Foster was suspended for the next game because he registered two personal fouls in a single game.
What Lyons emphasized, though, is that Foster is 100 percent devoted to his teammates and was devastated he could not play Friday night with the a chance to make a run at a second WPIAL Class AAA title on the line in three years. So before the game, Foster addressed the team.
“I told the team to give me a second chance; that’s all I asked for,” Foster said. “[After the game] I told them I was proud of them and thank you for the second chance.”
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough