The centerpiece on a defense filled with lots of inexperience and coming off a season in which the Tigers allowed 22.6 point per game, including 43 in a disappointing loss to Fairhope in the 6A state playoffs, Foster has made a dramatic impact in just a short time. Allowing just 19 total points in three games, Foster's play in the middle has made the Auburn High defense a totally different group so far in 2012.
"They have so much confidence in him because they know he's going to produce on the field," Coach Tim Carter said. "That confidence just bleeds over and when he makes a big play other guys want to go out and emulate what he did. It's like a groundswell amongst the defense. They all go to another level because of what he's doing and how he's performing. It has made us a much more complete unit."
Playing offense and special teams in addition to roaming the middle of the defense, Foster has made plays in every area. After rushing for two touchdowns in the season opener against Valley, he has added to his role on offense with three more scores the last two weeks to bring his season total to five.
Finishing with eight total tackles in a blowout win over Smiths Station, Foster added three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and blocked two punts as well. Carter said the way Foster plays the game and his attitude on the field just wills him to make plays no matter the situation.
Reuben Foster patrols the middle of the Auburn defense
"Reuben is just so athletic," Carter said. "You've got a guy who is 240-245 pounds and I'm sure runs easily a 4.5 40-yard dash. He broke our power clean record and didn't have the time to be in the weight room like most of our kids when he did 350 pounds. It crushed the record by 35 pounds. He's physically gifted.
"What I'm most impressed with him, besides his athleticism, is his love for the game," the coach added. "He's one of those kids who loves football. It's very instinctive to him. As a linebacker he's quick to see things develop. As a special teams player he makes plays. It's that tenacity that is the element that separates him from a lot of other very talented athletes."
That love for the game is evident when you watch Foster on the field or even just in practice. Always smiling and wanting to be a part of either the defense or offense, the massive linebacker has fit in well with his new teammates and coaching staff by showing them he's a team player first. That was never more evident than in the win over Jeff Davis in week two when his massive block on the goal line sprung quarterback Cameron Echols-Luper for an easy touchdown. Carter said it is plays like that block that show what kind of player Foster really is.
"Reuben is well-liked and a happy spirit," Carter said. "He wants to belong and be a part of the guys. One thing you notice about him when he plays is how unselfish he is. He's going to block just as hard as he's going to run the football. That's not always the case for a lot of guys who are your better players that you have to hammer home the point of being a team player and being unselfish. That's definitely not the case with him. Because of that he's endeared himself to the guys."
No matter what else Foster does on the field, his play on defense is what makes him a five-star recruit. An instinctive player who lives to make a big play, Carter said his big linebacker is the definition of the word physical and he shows it every single week.
"It doesn't take long to find him on the football field," Carter said. "The reason why is because you'll see how physical he is. When he hits something it moves.
"He's constantly looking for contact and to me that's what a great football player does. They are going to hit somebody on every play. He lives for that. You can see his eyes light up at the linebacker position when the ball is snapped."
Auburn takes on Sidney Lanier this Friday night at Duck Samford Stadium in Auburn. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CDT.