Print and Go Back On The Trail: Southeast Region [Print without images]

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wild finish ahead for LB Reuben Foster

By Kipp Adams

On the heels of his first official visit to the University of Washington, ESPN 150 linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) was met by two sets of coaches at his school. It is coming down to the final stretch for the 2013 recruiting cycle, so programs are not holding back any longer.

For Foster, that means a steady stream of high-profile visitors all telling him exactly what he wants to hear, he said. And that's not making things easy for him.

Reuben Foster
Reuben Foster is projected as an inside linebacker, but he says Georgia suggested he might play on the edge.
First up was the school he was committed to play for just a few months ago.

“Auburn said they need me and they wanted to get better acquainted with my mom,” Foster said. “They want me to be the face of their defense, so they plan to do whatever it takes to put me in that situation. They are playing catch-up with Georgia and Alabama, but they are playing catch-up pretty well.”

The Bulldogs sent John Lilly and Todd Grantham to see the No. 16 prospect in the country, and they arrived with a new pitch for Foster.

“They told me they do not want me to play middle linebacker,” Foster said. “They want me to play the spot Jarvis Jones played, so that was something new. I was feeling that, because I played on the outside off the edge just like that the majority of the time at Troup, so I could see myself doing that, and I loved hearing that.”

Jones, who is projected to be a high pick in the upcoming NFL draft, made an impact on Foster during his numerous visits to Athens.

“I met Jarvis and spent time with him a couple times, and I think the world of him,” Foster said. “He gave me great wisdom with his creed, 'Loyalty before royalty and faith before fame.' I love that creed, and I use it all of the time, and I know I will keep using it if I go to UGA. I have not committed -- but I love that creed.”

Foster is expected to take his official visit to Georgia on Jan. 25, along with fellow ESPN 150 targets and Under Armour All-Americans Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly Co.).

“I am looking forward to meeting the Georgia staff again, all of the players and all of the players coming in, too, just to see what they have to say to me and what is new,” Foster said.

One thing that intrigues the coveted linebacker about the Bulldogs is their persistence throughout his recruitment over the last three years.

“I do not get it with Georgia,” Foster said. “I committed to Alabama last year, and they said they were not giving up on me. Then I decommitted and they thought they had a chance, and then I committed to Auburn. Once again, they said they were not giving up on me. They stayed on me heavy this entire time, then when I decommitted from Auburn, they said they were coming for me. They were there at the school the day I decommitted, and they said they were sorry I had to go through all of that twice, but they were just giving me goodwill that day and that was great to have. I could tell they were happy when that happened though.”

Foster likened Georgia’s pursuit of his commitment to that of one of the oldest forms of survival known to man.

“It is like they have been fishing, and they have been trying to catch this big ole fish, this catfish, and they have not caught it yet, but they said they are going to catch it,” Foster said. “I have faith in them, and they have not given up or shown any weaknesses. They have stayed strong.”

Wednesday morning started out like any other day for Foster. Just minutes away from the Auburn University campus, Foster arrived at school ready to see two coaches from a program largely disliked around town.

“Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Kirby) Smart came to my school and my house tonight,” Foster said. “It was interesting seeing everyone going crazy about Nick Saban and Coach Smart, two University of Alabama coaches in an Auburn college town. They were freaking out and taking pictures, and I thought they were supposed to be Auburn fans. I did not hear a single 'War Eagle,' but I heard several 'Roll Tides'.”

Later that night they spent time at his home with his mother.

“They talked about my academics and how they need me at middle linebacker,” Foster said. “They really surprised me with what they were saying, but it sounded great. My mom always loved Coach Smart, but she had never met Coach Saban like that. So she has started building trust up in him and liking him too.”

Foster was not expecting another visitor on Wednesday, so he was surprised to see yet another SEC program trying to get in the mix late with the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country.

“Brick Haley from LSU came, and I did not even know he was going to be here,” Foster said. “He just showed up. My mom knew, but she did not tell me. I am interested in LSU, so I was not mad at my mom, because it is her house.”

The Tigers will have their work cut out for them if they want to get Foster on their campus, as he could be done with his officials very soon.

“Most likely Alabama and Georgia will be my last two visits, although I have not really thought about it for sure,” Foster said. “I am looking forward to getting my official visits over with, for days to go by until to signing day."

One thing Foster is not close to being done with, however, is his decision. When trying to compare the three programs at the forefront of his recruitment, Foster sees positives in his future at each school.

“I think I could make a big impact at Georgia or Auburn,” Foster said. “But knowledge-wise, I think I could get the best out of it at Alabama or Georgia, because of Nick Saban and Mark Richt. Alabama has the best reputation of getting people to the next level, but I could get on the field earlier at Auburn or Georgia. I love so many schools that have told me what I want to hear, and they know what I want to hear, so it is confusing. This is why ... I honestly do not know where I am going to go, but I know it will be wild.”