Interest in North Carolina native Justin Foster has expanded in recent months to include schools as far away as Stanford and as close to home as UNC. Last Saturday, the Crest Senior High School star made a three-hour drive to Knoxville to immerse himself in Orange Carpet Day, an intimate look at Tennessee’s campus and facilities with a dozen or so of his fellow blue chip prospects.
“It was pretty fun. It was different from a lot of other schools I visited,” Foster told InsideTennessee. “Usually most schools bring in like 50 of the top recruits they want and everything, and (Tennessee) brought in like 15 people and the whole day was just focused just on us. We had two coaches with us everywhere we went. We really got to know our coaches and everything and talked with them and had fun.”
The Scout four-star outside linebacker from Shelby played games with the coaching staff and took the opportunity to talk with his main recruiter, special teams coach Mark Elder.
“We came out there and had fun,” Foster said. “We played little games with the coaches and everything and got the whole family involved. It was pretty cool.”
The 6-3, 230-pound linebacker boasts offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, among others. Distance, he said, isn’t a factor in his decision and Foster wants to score scholarship invitations from Alabama, Georgia and Florida State before the class of 2017 prospect’s recruitment ends.
When it comes to finding the program he wants to join, Foster is centering his process on playing time. The rising junior hopes to fit into a system where he’ll be able to see the field early on and make an impact right away.
“I really want to come in as a freshman and get to play some, and as a sophomore maybe get to start. That’s really like my main thing,” Foster said.
“Some kids come in and they don’t get to play much their freshman year. Some don’t get to play at all and some of them don’t get to play at all their sophomore year and finally get to play their junior year. I actually want to come in and play as a freshman and as a sophomore.”
Coaches who see Foster salivate over the speed hiding in his large frame. To those recruiting him, his size and agility are two of his biggest attributes.
“I’m pretty tall for my size at outside linebacker. I’m at 230 (pounds) right now and still can move just like I was when I was about 200 pounds, and I can come off the edge,” he said. “I cover a lot of ground for my size and I keep up with the running backs just like I’m a running back. I can keep up with them no problem.”
While Foster continues to mull over his ever-growing list of offers, he says he’ll be patient in making his decision. After his positive Orange Carpet Day experience, the North Carolina prospect is favoring two shades of orange at the moment.
“I don't have a list. I would say all the schools that have offered me right now are pretty much my list,” he said. “I’m still open-minded with all of them. I’d say one of my favorites is Tennessee. Tennessee is one of my favorites and Clemson is one of my favorites."