When four-star linebacker Justin Foster trims his lengthy list of scholarship offers down to eight, odds are in favor of North Carolina making the cut.
“There’s a pretty good chance that they will,” Foster said. “They were one of the first schools to offer me and the school I liked when I was a little kid.”
Originally, Foster, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Shelby (N.C.) Crest, had hoped to come out of the football season with a finalists list. But, situations beyond his control (e.g. new offers, coaching changes, etc.) prevented that from occurring.
“Ever since all the coaches changed since last year, I’m still open to all schools,” Foster said. “But, I plan to release a top list at the beginning of this football season.”
UNC hasn’t been immune to the coaching carousal and its spinning has affected the recruitment of Foster. His area recruiter, Seth Littrell, left for North Texas. Gunter Brewer has swiftly and adequately filled the void.
“Not much [interruptions], because when Coach Littrell was recruiting me [Brewer and I] were in contact a lot,” Foster said. “But, the transition to Brewer has been pretty easy, because I haven’t had to get to know him since I’ve always had a good relationship with him and he’s been by my school. He’s a cool coach and we have a good relationship.”
Foster says no schools are shoo-ins for final eight list.
“I’m still deciding,” Foster said. “I’m really just open to everyone right now. I have a lot more visits planned.”
Foster doesn’t have definite plans, but hopes to visit Duke, Georgia, NC State, Tennessee, and Virginia before the summer.
Since the football season ended, Foster has visited Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, UNC, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. He was in Chapel Hill for the Tar Heels’ junior day held in conjunction with the Tobacco Road basketball rivalry.
“Not too many people get to go to a Duke and Carolina game,” Foster said. “It was a very loud game. People stood up the whole time. It was just a great atmosphere. It was pretty cool.
“It was a unique junior day – not too many kids there, and you got to spend more time with the coaches, and you got to see a great game. We took pictures, and videos and said ‘I’m a Tar Heel.’”
All of the UNC coaches who were on hand made sure to converse with Foster. But, Gene Chizik, the Tar Heels defensive coordinator, took his interaction with Foster a step further – he pulled him into a defensive meeting room for a more intimate conversation.
“We talked about where I would fit in,” Foster said. “He said that I could really play any of the linebacker positions, but he could see me at the position that blitzes off the edge and drops into coverage.”
While playing outside linebacker for Crest, which went undefeated and claimed the NCHSAA 3AA title, this past season, Foster totaled 67 tackles, including a dozen for a loss and three sacks.