Foster Feels at Home

Kendrick Foster had already been to Illinois a half-dozen times before last weekend's game against Western Michigan.

There was no way the senior running back from Peoria, an Illini verbal commitment since April, was going to miss the season opener. So he travelled the hour and a half to Champaign, despite the forecast of rain.

"Overall I was impressed with the coaching staff and how the family came together," Foster said of his visit.

The trip wasn't about seeing the campus or re-affirming his commitment. That's been a done deal for a long time, so there's no need for a sales pitch. Now Foster is concerned only with strengthening the relationships he's established with his future coaches and teammates.

"I just think this new staff cares about the person and not just the football player," he said. "They care about you getting your degree first and then what you do on the football field. I've heard from the players on the team that the vibe from the coaches this year is more of a family in the locker room than it has been in the past."

Foster has essentially shut his recruiting down. He still hears from some schools, but there hasn't been any serious talks from elsewhere because the 5-8, 185-pound standout respectfully declines other advances.

"I made a commitment, I'm not my kind of person that de-commits or anything like that," Foster said. "That doesn't show character."

Illinois, Fosters says, just feels right, mostly because of proximity.

"It was pretty much a family thing," he said. "The No. 1 thing is I didn't want to move away from my Mom. She isn't that far away and will be able to see all my games."

For now, he's focused on his senior season at Richwoods High, with the goal of advancing deep into the state playoffs. Any future trips to see college football played will be to Champaign only, he said.

"I'm going to try to make a couple more trips there this fall and invite some of my friends with me so they can get the Illini experience and see them I picked Illinois."

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