Foster Eyeing the No. 1 Spot

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Brooks Foster knows about the success of teammates Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, but instead of settling to be known as the third option in the wide receiver ranks, the fifth-year senior is determined to make his presence felt during his final season in Chapel Hill.

"A lot of people I've talked to think I'm content to be the third receiver, but I'm definitely not," Foster said after the morning practice session of Wednesday's two-a-day. "I just try to work hard and be a team player. But I can definitely make plays – I feel like I can do anything on the field."

Foster trailed only Nicks with his 29 receptions last fall, and lagged behind only Tate in average yards per catch with 14.4. The Boiling Springs, S.C. product caught four passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening victory over James Madison, but an early-season injury derailed his plans for a breakout junior campaign.

While serving as a gunner on the punt coverage unit in the fifth game on the schedule at Virginia Tech, Foster pulled his right quadricep. He sat out the following game against Miami, but noticed over the next four or five contests that the leg was still bothering him.

"I never really got back to 100 percent until the last two games," Foster said. "It definitely affected me. I lost my confidence as far as getting open, and the quarterback kind of lost some confidence in throwing over the middle because he had thrown some picks. But this year I've worked on getting my legs stronger so that I won't get hurt."

Foster's legs are just one part of an in-depth workout regime that the slot receiver has perfected over the years. Coaches and teammates refer to the fifth-year senior as a warrior in the weight room, and for good reason – Foster earned distinction as one of nine "Super Rams" in the Tar Heels' weight room.

. "I pride myself in the weight room a lot, because I want to be strong," Foster said. "It carries over onto the field, too, because you can push little [defensive backs] off you and you can come out of your routes really quick."

Check out these numbers – Foster bench presses 405 pounds, power cleans 360 pounds and squats 520 pounds. Add to that the fact that he has been clocked recently at 4.37 and 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, and it's easy to see why pro scouts are intrigued by the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder.

"I like to work out kind of like I'm about to go to the combine," Foster said. "I look at the numbers and compare myself to the combine numbers, because I know that stuff is very important, too."

Sporting News Today ranked its top-10 wide receivers for the 2009 NFL Draft on Wednesday, and Foster was listed at No. 5, with the paper stating that he "is the least known of the top receivers, but he is no doubt a legit prospect. He is tall and tough with great hands, and he has the ability to pluck high passes in tough spots."

"I definitely want to get to the next level," Foster said. "I'm jumping up the charts. I noticed this summer that I flew up, as far as the rankings of the receivers. It's odd, because I'm kind of the third receiver, but I'm getting the most attention in the background. That is motivating me, but I'm just trying to work hard and do my job."

But there are plenty of goals to be accomplished this fall before Foster will allow himself to turn his attention to his professional aspirations. As one of the lone fifth-year seniors, he has made a point to become a more vocal leader this offseason, educating some of the younger receivers both on the field and in the film room.

Foster is not one to dive deep into providing information about his personal goals for the season, but there is one team goal that is seemingly becoming an echo at the Kenan Football Center – winning the ACC Championship.

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