Don't expect a signature moment when Robert Foster makes his college decision. No television cameras will be necessary.
Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley head coach Mark Lyons said his superstar receiver won't have a lineup of hats in front of him when he announces his commitment, likely sometime this fall. The nation's second-best receiver prospect in the country will try to break the news quietly. That's just his nature.
Lyons describes Foster as the very opposite of the typical diva receiver football fans have come to expect. Foster isn't comfortable with interviews and – believe it or not – is quite modest.
“He really is like that,” Lyons said.
Foster's recruitment backs Lyons' claims. For the 23rd overall prospect in the country, the four-star wideout hasn't done many interviews. He also hasn't visited many college campuses. Alabama and Ohio State are two of the most notable.
“I just want to be a normal high school football player without a lot of the pressure on me,” the top prospect in Pennsylvania said. “I accept all of the attention but I can't let all the attention fill my head up. I'm a regular kid. I don't feel like the No. 1 wideout in the nation. I don't feel like that. I feel like a regular kid that just wants to play the game so I just want to focus on that.”
There is no higher rated, uncommitted receiver in the country than Foster, so he's in strong demand. The adulation is still a bit shocking for Foster, who was taken aback when he saw how high he was ranked among the nation's top prospects earlier this year.
“I was surprised,” he admitted. “I feel blessed about what ranking I'm in. Not a lot of people believe in religion but I feel blessed. I thank God for the opportunity he's presented me.”
Foster is certainly blessed, but he's also worked hard for his opportunity. He's often up at 5 a.m. for summer workouts. Perhaps it's that hard work that keeps him grounded.
“I don't believe in being cocky because you never know what can happen,” Foster said. “I can get injured this year and it would mess up my whole future.”
The future is bright for Foster. With a yards-per-catch average well over 20 yards, he's shown special talent.
“I'd say his playmaking ability,” Lyons said when asked what made Foster stand out among his peers. “He can, at any time, take it the distance. Any time he touches the ball, it could be an instant score.”
For recruiting standards nowadays, Foster is somewhat of a late-bloomer. He didn't explode onto the recruiting scene until the third or fourth game of the season, according to Lyons. Now, the challenge is to make Foster a bigger part of the offense.
“Obviously we're going to be more creative to find him more touches,” Lyons said.
One sure way to get Foster some touches is on special teams. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Foster might seem like a long, prototypical receiver. Yet Lyons said there's more than that. There's a burst to Foster's game that is often most evident when he's returning kicks and punts.
“He's going to be a darn good college receiver and make splash on special teams,” the coach said.
That has made for an interesting couple of months. College coaches have flocked to Central Valley High School during the spring evaluation period. Don't try to ask Lyons how many recruiters have been by recently.
“I can't even begin to count,” Lyons said. “It's been pretty unique.”
That has put unwanted pressure on Foster. While he said there's no real time frame to making his decision, he is starting to think about cutting down his list of schools. He said he'll visit with Lyons this summer and hopefully make a decision during the season after he takes some official visits.
Foster said academics will be the most important factor in his decision. He plans to major in communications, which may sound odd for a prospect who seems a little shy. Yet there are two sides to communicating. While Foster might not like to talk, he's definetely learned how to listen intently during the recruiting process. Clearly, he's grown somewhat wary of the countless sales pitches he's heard from college coaches.
“They all tell you something you want hear,” Foster said. “When you go to a college, they tell you things you want to hear. If God wants to put you in a place, he'll tell you immediately where that right place is going to be.”
And unless something drastic changes, that won't be sitting behind a podium with a lineup of hats in front of him.