Mike Brown ranks as one of the Husker greats. He was perhaps the Huskers' best safety in regard to production as well as just how intelligently he played the game. He was two years first-team All-Big 12, one year a first-team All-American and a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. At the point of Brown's graduation, he was then Nebraska's second all-time leading tackler with 287 for his career.
In addition, as a member of Saguro High School, Brown was just not an all-state performer, but he set a couple of records in the sprint events that D.J. Foster thinks stand to this day.
And some say D.J. is faster.
This isn't news to D.J. He's at Saguro, and if you are going to learn about key players in the sport of football and in athletics, Mike Brown's name is going to come up.
And they say D.J. is a lot like him. Some say he's better.
"Yeah, I have heard that. I mean, everyone hears about Mike here, because he's kind of a legend. They won a state title when he was here, and he did a lot of great things in track, too," said the 6-0, 185 lbs. Foster. "People like to compare me to him, but they say I might be a bit faster."
It's a good thing for Foster that he shares something else with Mike Brown, a player and Saguro legend who Foster admits he hasn't met as of yet. They share a very calm demeanor. Calm, cool and smart. That was perhaps one of the defining characteristics of Brown, who was known for his hitting, but also known for the fact that he was hardly ever out of position, and if ever had a bad tackle, someone would have to show me to make me believe it.
To date, D.J. says that while the 13 offers he has of right now are certainly proof that he can play, he's still trying to get used to it all. "I have played since Pop Warner, and I never thought anything like this would ever happen. I
|Mike Brown, a second round pick by the Chicago Bears, ranks as as one of the best tacklers in Husker history as well as being considered one of its smartest players ever.|
never thought I would be thought of as one of those players like Mike was," said D.J. who had a statistical windfall of a season as a junior for Saguro, the eventual state champions. He rushed for 1,421 yards and 22 TDs. Caught 43 passes for 740 yards and 4 TDs as well as made 60 tackles and 7 INTs.
It may not be a wonder to us, but it still is to D.J. "When I got my first offer from Arizona State, I was shocked. I really was. I didn't know what to think," he said. "But I knew that it meant I could play, ya know. Then more offers came, and now I am just trying to keep it all in perspective."
The perspective is one where he's making sound decisions, but he knows he has a lot of players who he has been able to look up to and see what they did. Corey Adams, a standout defensive tackle three years ago, went to Saguro and had reportedly in the range of 40 offers. Then there is Cyrus Hobbi, who played for Saguro last season, who Foster says he's been good friends with for years. "Watching what those guys did and seeing their experience, that helped me a lot in how I am approaching recruiting. But those guys didn't rush it or let the attention to get to them," he said. "Both took their time, made their visits and I think that's probably just what I am going to do. Right now I am just taking everything in."
Well, you can't be compared to a Nebraska legend and not have some knowledge about Nebraska the school, the team and the program. Foster said he actually had a chance recently to talk to almost the entire coaching staff in Lincoln. "It was great. I think we must have talked for like 45 minutes. But I got to learn a lot about how they do things, and how they might use me," he said.
That is also pretty varied, as Oregon is recruiting Foster as a receiver, Cal as a DB and almost everyone else, they say he can play whatever position he wants or whatever one suits him the best. You can see by the stats that he can do it on both sides. Most recruits usually say they don't favor a side when they are approached as being recruited as an athlete. But that's often not the case. Not with Foster, he says. When he says he doesn't mind which side of the ball he's on, he really doesn't. "I like catching touchdowns or laying a lick on someone trying to keep them from scoring one. I honestly don't care which side I play," he said. "Football is football. I love it no matter where I am at."
Like Hobbi and Adams, the recruiting process is going to be a slow one for Foster. While he would like to take unofficial visits up the west coast over the Summer, he doesn't know for sure right now. As for Nebraska, they are very much in his mind, but reality says that if he's going to visit them, which he plans to do, it will be when Nebraska is picking up the expense. "It's a lot of money to travel to all of those places, so there are some places I am just going to have to wait to visit when it's time to take my officials," he said.
But while recruiting is early, D.J. said that he does have a tentative top five.
"This is how I see it right now, but this kind of thing changes. But right now I would have to say that the five teams I am looking at, and in no particular order, are Oregon, USC, Nebraska, ASU and Stanford," he said.
We'll have to probably wait a while before it changes. And for Nebraska fans you can bet they hope it doesn't change until he's at least had a chance to visit Lincoln. Foster said that he's in no rush to do anything, so if he can make it, he probably will. "They just have so much tradition there, and they seem to be making some changes for the positive there right now," he said. "I'm really lucky to have the opportunities I have to look at the schools that are looking at me right now. I plan on taking my time and making the best decision for me when I am satisfied I have done all my homework on everyone."