Auburn hired former Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn on Tuesday, bringing the former Tigers’ offensive coordinator back to the plains after he led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record and the Sun Belt title in his first season as head coach. Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), an ESPN 150 standout just a few miles away from the Auburn campus, was upbeat about the news.
“Everybody is hyped up about the new coach,” Foster said. “I think it is a great hire and they picked the right guy. I need to build a relationship with him. I built one with the rest of the staff, especially coach Trooper Taylor. Yes, I was waiting on the head coach to be hired, but even more so I am waiting to see what happens with Coach Taylor because my relationship with him is different than a regular coach to player relationship.”
It appears that bond could be stronger than any recruiting ties Foster has built up over the past few years.
“Right now, I am still committed to Auburn,” Foster said. “If Trooper Taylor stays at Auburn, I am all in. If he goes, I will see where he goes too. I just need to see where he ends up. If he goes to another school, I will go there. Hopefully that school will want me too because I would love to follow him.”
Georgia recently had the No. 24 prospect in the country on campus, and although the 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker is strongly considering the Bulldogs, he admitted they could face an uphill battle in their pursuit of his commitment.
“I would say Georgia’s chances of getting me are somewhat dependent on Trooper Taylor being there too,” Foster said. “He told me that he did not want to cause me to change where I want to be because of him, but I told him not to worry about that.”
The relationship between Taylor and Foster solidified after Charles Flowers was let go as the head coach at LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County High School. Foster and Flowers were very close, and Taylor took over as a father figure after he moved to Auburn, Ala.
“He shot me straight just like Coach Flowers did at Troup,” Foster said. “He told me that every coach is going to tell me what I want to hear and he will too, but he will also be honest with me. He taught me that this is like a business and college coaches need great players to have success. He has been a father figure to me, and he knows I have a baby girl to take care of and he has been there for me.”