Foster returns for senior season

Last week was full of good news for the Arizona State football program and this week has continued that trend as D.J. Foster announced that he will not enter the 2015 NFL draft and return for his senior season.

“To be honest it was a very comforting and easy decision,” D.J. Foster said in today’s press conference. “I really got to talk to the people that care the most about me. I love this community, I love this school, and I love the Sun Devil nation. Even long after I’m gone I’ll still care about this place and I will have tremendous passion for being a Sun Devil for the rest of my life.

“By staying my senior year, I’m so happy to be part of this program for one more year. I’ll be able to graduate in the spring, and to see this program succeed next year…I don’t take it for granted and I want to be around it as long as I can. I’m so excited to be able to finish what I started. To be able to run out there on Senior Day, those are memories not many people are able to have.”

While Foster led Arizona State this past season with 1,081 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, ever since his freshman year when he was named to the All-American team he has proved to be one of the most versatile players in the Pac-12. Over his career he hauled in 163 receptions for 1,874 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Due to his prowess in the passing game as well as the emergence of freshman running back Demario Richard, Foster will now assume more of a slot receiver role in 2015.

"I'd rather be a wide receiver that can play running back than a running back that can play wide receiver,” Foster explained. “I have a lot of work to do in the offseason trying to tighten up the details and learn the position. I am excited because there is a great challenge ahead of me. Whatever I can do to help this team reach its goals next year, I am all about it.

“Whether it helps or not (to play in NFL) it is just a position that is more suitable for me. I know I can play any position on the field and I am confident in myself. It helps the team next year and it helps me a little bit in my future because I could see myself being more of a slot receiver at the next level.”

Head coach Todd Graham quipped on how is almost “wrecked his car” when Foster announced at Scottsdale Saguaro High School on January 27th, 2012 that he was choosing his hometown school as Foster was one of the main recruiting targets he and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell pursued as they arrived in Tempe in December of 2011.

Graham was naturally just as excited to have his biggest offensive weapon among his returning players stay for his senior year in Tempe, but and said this decision is very telling of Foster’s personality.

“The hardest thing to do is be a student-athlete and play at this level,” Graham stated.” It is a drain on them mentally and physically, and then they are forced to make this decision when they are really tired of school, and really tired of a lot of things. At the end of the season it is really difficult. That is why we really try to be there for them and help them as much as we can.

“The easy decision sometimes is to go-ahead and go (to the NFL). Every person is different. I don’t know how DJ felt but when I was in his position, I was really tired of school and really tired with all the things that come along with it. Looking back on it three years later I wished that I could go back. The season is a grind, D.J. will tell you. What we ask of them here, on the field, off the field and in the community is a lot. For a person like D.J. who is the face of the program; there is a lot that comes along with that, both mentally and physically. I think that this decision shows great maturity on his part, and I also believe that he will have tremendous career in the NFL.”

Graham said that last Saturday was the first time in his career after a bowl game where he had players walk up to him and say how excited they were to get back to work. “As we were walking through the airport,” Graham recalled, “several of the guys that will be seniors said, ‘coach, this is going to be the best senior class ever, in how we lead and what we do.’ I am excited, and thrilled with this decision. I think he made the right one.”

Foster echoed those sentiments.

“I see the hunger and drive in this 2015 team,” Foster commented, “and I am excited to be a part of it and help lead these guys to all the goals that we have fell short of so far. This is the team that has the leadership and edge to it. I can’t to get out there and go to work.”

Foster said that he did seek his parents’ approval regarding his decision even though all they wanted is to see him is be happy regardless of whatever resolution he reached. His father, Darryl Foster, wholeheartedly approved of his son’s announcement and was emotional when talking about his daughter Jennifer, who passed away when Foster was a high school sophomore.

“D.J. and I have always had a good relationship as far as sitting down and going through the process from high school to college,” Foster said. “We went through that whole process with all the different schools and everything as far as that goes. We really talked about the pros and cons, the locations, and the coaches. From the beginning he always wanted to be a Sun Devil and it has always been very important to him. Obviously it really worked out well. Another thing is honestly his sister. Something in her life that she always wanted for him was to know that there is more than just football and sports.

“So he always talked about chapters in his life. I know certain chapters in his life are very important and finishing chapters is so important to him. ASU is that chapter and he is going to put his finishing touches on a great senior year and move on from there.”

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