The Maryland staff made a play for Pallotti (Laurel, Md.) three-star receiver Cam Sullivan-Brown in the 2017 class before he opted for Penn State. But perhaps the Terps’ coaches will have a better shot at the next big Panthers’ wideout.
Class of 2018 receiver Jelani Foster, who transferred to Pallotti from Towson (Md.) before the season, emerged opposite Sullivan-Brown and has begun to generate serious interest on the trail. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder holds one early offer from Division I-AA school Morgan State, but numerous FBS programs’ coaches are keeping tabs.
“Things have been picking up and I’m getting a whole lot of interest,” Foster said. “Maybe this spring [colleges] will start offering and pulling the trigger. Hopefully things start to pick up.”
Although Sullivan-Brown saw the majority of the touches this season, Foster still managed to haul in 30-plus passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns. He also made his fair share of contributions as a defensive back.
“As a team we played real well. We had two tough losses at the end of the season to Friendship (Washington, D.C.) and Bullis (Potomac, Md.) by a total of five points, but we had a 10-game win steak to win a championship. That’s all you can ask for,” Foster said. “And I think I did real well. It was my best season since switching from Towson. Cam got most of the looks, but I did what I could to contribute. I dedicated myself to working hard and proving myself.
“I give a lot of credit to my coaches and Prefect Performance [training group], which taught me everything I know. They helped me with reading coverages, footwork, ways to beat defenses, getting in and out of breaks, and finishing routes.”
Already schools such as Iowa, Maryland, Pitt, UNC, ECU and UVA have inquired about Foster. They’ve been in active communication with his head coach, while staying in touch with the recruit via Twitter.
“Of all the schools, I’d say Iowa talks to me the most,” Foster said. “I’ve actually been there a couple times, because my grandparents live like 10 minutes from the school. The Iowa coaches found out I had family out there, so they jumped on me and have been talking to me a good amount. So that would be great to get that offer. I like it out there and I’ve enjoyed myself when I’ve visited.”
But while the Hawkeyes hold some sentimental appeal, Foster admitted he does have an early “dream school.” The Pallotti prospect has visited College Park, Md., numerous times and likes what he’s seen out of the University of Maryland.
“Maryland is a dream school for me, because my family and friends can see me play. I want my family to be close by,” Foster said. “Also, I have a real good relationship with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], who recruits me. He contacts me a lot, and I really like his personality and what he’s about. And I’ve been up to campus a few times, and I just really like it there and what they’re doing with the new facilities and all that.
“I actually like all the coaches at Maryland. Coach [D.J.] Durkin brought a new intensity to the team and the staff, and they finished better than people expected. They had a few bad games, but they finished .500 before the bowl game loss, so I think [the Terps] are set up for the future. And I know a few commits and people on the team already. I’m friends with [current Terps] Tino Ellis and LoLo Harrison, who I played against in high school, and I also am friends with [commits] Ayinde Eley and Kenny Bennett. I know all those guys and they love it there and love the coaches. They’re competitors, and they want to win, and that’s the kind of people I want to play with.”
Foster’s previous treks through UMD include, but aren’t limited to, the Maryland-Purdue game this year; the Friday Night Lights camp; and a June one-day camp. The recruit said he’s “definitely” getting back for a prospect day this winter as well.
“I had a lot of fun at the camps working with the Maryland coaches. I did real well at the first camp I went to, and that’s how I came onto their radar. Coach Aazaar saw me and invited me to the Friday Night camp, and I did real well there too,” Foster said. “Coach Aazaar likes me as an athlete, but Coach [Chris] Beatty, the receivers’ coach, he was talking to me too, and he likes how I compete and thinks I’m a polished receiver. That meant a lot coming form a veteran coach who has developed so many guys.
“Then this fall, I came to the Purdue game and Maryland played real well. I liked how the team competed, I liked the atmosphere in the stadium, and I really liked the energy from the coaches. It was a great environment up there.”
In addition to Maryland and Iowa, Foster has been to Rutgers and Penn State. He wants to return to each this offseason, in addition to taking a trip up to Pitt.
“Like I said, my goal is not to go too far from my family, so I like some of the schools around here that aren’t too far,” Foster said. “I like Pitt and what they’re doing with that program. They had a strong season and I think Coach [Pat] Narduzzi has things moving in the right direction. And Penn State, Coach [James] Franklin really turned things around there, and they beat a lot of tough teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin. And obviously Cam is going there, so it would be cool to play with him again.”