Justin Foster likes Tennessee's environment

The No. 1-rated linebacker in North Carolina discusses his interest in the Vols with InsideTennessee.

CHARLOTTE — Justin Foster got to show off his physical style of play at The Opening Charlotte on Sunday, a bullying presence that Tennessee is hoping to land as it looks at adding linebackers for the future. The Scout four-star linebacker's aggression in the middle fits right in with new Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and his blitz-heavy scheme, and that's not lost on Foster.

"He's really aggressive," Foster told InsideTennessee. "He loves taking chances, especially in blitzes. He'll blitz the whole game and he'll take his chances. I love blitzing. I blitz in high school all the time and that's something I like doing."

Shoop's aggression is certainly a drawing point for the No. 1-ranked outside linebacker in North Carolina's 2017 class, but it isn't the only one. Foster has visited Tennessee multiple times over the course of his high school career, building a solid relationship with tight ends coach Larry Scott in the process.

"I like the environment up there," Foster told IT. "I like the coaches. We talk a little bit. (Tight ends) coach Larry Scott, me and him talk about every week. I just like it up there. I feel like I can play every linebacker position they got and maybe come off the edge some for them." 

Scott's still new to Knoxville, which makes his recruiting pitch to Foster even more sincere. The first-year Vols assistant hasn't sugarcoated anything about playing at Tennessee and is actively developing a relationship with the Scout300 player that goes beyond X's and O's.

"He's kind of new to everything so he's still learning," Foster said. "He's pretty upfront. We just have really good conversations, just trying to get to know each other better."

Foster told InsideTennessee he plans to release a top six next month, with Tennessee and Clemson sitting at the top of his current list. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound rising senior doesn't have a set timetable for when his decision will be made and isn't in a rush to end the recruitment process.

"I'm still deciding if I'm graduating early," Foster said. "If I'm graduating early, the decision will come sooner. If I do not graduate early, it might come later on down the road, maybe in one of the All-American games."

When Foster's commitment does come, it will be to a program he meshes with in scheme, school and in environment.

"I want to stay at linebacker, maybe blitz a little bit off the edge and kind of stand up on the defensive end," he said. "I want to major in mechanical engineering, so whoever balances my schedule with school and football. Really, I guess, the atmosphere of the school and game day and everything."


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