Player capsule: D.J. Foster

The leading returning receiver for the Sun Devils is senior D.J. Foster, a player who nevertheless is going to be a true wide receiver for the first time in his career in 2015.

Player Capsule: D.J. Foster

Position: Wide Receiver

Eligibility: Senior

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 195 pounds

2014 season quick review: One of ASU's premier performers, Foster earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors in 2014. He rushed for a team-best 1,081 yards and nine touchdowns last season and finished second with 62 catches for 688 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the season as the only player in the country with more than 1,000 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving. No other returning player in the country has more than 1,500 yards rushing and receiving, which Foster has accomplished.

Wide Receivers Coach Del Alexander: "I love his speed, his power, his explosiveness. He's going to add a dynamic to the position group that guys can look at as an example. In terms of how we use him, we're still going to use him in multiple ways. What he's done to this point, we can't try to do something totally different. We've got to keep him doing what he's done successfully but incorporate some more wide receiver fundamentals and try to grow him there."

SunDevilSource.com analysis: The leading returning receiver for the Sun Devils, Foster nevertheless is going to be a true wide receiver for the first time in his career in 2015. All of his receiving production to this point in college came either out of the backfield, or from a tight slot role that ASU considers to be a two-back formation.

The change involves more than just working with the running backs full time in practice to the wide receivers. As a running back, Foster had to always be thinking about protections and viewed the field from the line of scrimmage to the box and from there expanding outwardly it got a little fuzzier and less important. Now he'll be playing a position that requires its players to see the field from the safety level working down. There are no protections, but there are route adjustments to be made based on how the safeties react and move. So the mental approach and visual cues within a rep are very different.

Foster appeared to make a relatively seamless transition in the spring, working at both the field side, so-called 2-receiver spot, and the boundary side, 9-receiver position. He spent a lot of reps battling ASU's top cornerback, senior Lloyd Carrington, on the boundary side and the battles were intense out of press coverage techniques. A lot of wide receivers are not comfortable or even at timed familiar with having to get off the line of scrimmage and into their route against such physicality upon arriving at the college level. However, with his running back background, Foster immediately became as comfortable with contact at the line of scrimmage as any of the players in the group.

Other physical benefits are inherently present with Foster's move to receiver. He already knows how to drop his weight and re-direct efficiently, and has a lower center of gravity to start with, so route running is more natural and he transitions at speed quite well. Down the field Foster's tended to have good physical composure and consistently caught the football in practice. Foster doesn't possess elite top end speed, but he's able to be a vertical concept threat to some degree, and versatility is a true strength. He is quick, smart and skilled, and can truly line up all over the field and the biggest challenge for ASU coaches may be to figure out how to make the best use of Foster as they carve out a different type of role.

Projected depth chart status: Where Foster starts and plays most of his reps likely will depend in large part on how others do in the wide receiver group. Foster is best suited to be on the field side with how that player operates in more space and Foster's excellent ability to work underneath and gain separation from defensive backs closer to the line of scrimmage. His quickness makes it hard for cornerbacks to stay attached on slants and digs and also account for his ability to get vertical. But he may need to play on the boundary side if Devin Lucien, Ellis Jefferson or perhaps Terrell Chatman aren't ready to make a big impact. Best odds are Foster and Lucien end up as starters.


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