Foster recalls tight end days

Back in the fall of 2002, when Ripley High School football coach Johnny McAdams was feeling especially devious, he'd line up Ramon Foster at tight end.

The sight of Foster -- a 6-5, 285-pound junior in those days -- being covered by a 160-pound cornerback was downright comical. The thought of a 160-pound cornerback trying to tackle Foster was downright ludicrous. But that's what Ripley's fans had in mind one fateful Friday evening.

"I was lined up at tight end, and the crowd was screaming for the coach to throw one to me," recalls Foster, now a sophomore guard for the Tennessee Vols. "They called a drag route with me going over the middle. I caught the ball, and a measley little cornerback came up at me."

What happened next is painful to imagine. It must have been gut-wrenching to watch.

"I bulldozed the guy -- just ran him over -- and the crowd went 'Woooooo,' " Foster says, laughing wickedly at the recollection. "It wasn't pretty."

The good news: The creamed cornerback lived to play another day. The bad news: Foster was unable to convert the reception into a touchdown.

"I didn't score on the play," he recalls, pausing before cheerfully adding: "but it took three guys to bring me down."

Foster caught two other passes at Ripley, converting both into touchdowns. His career receiving stats were imposing: three catches, 45 yards, two TDs. He also scored a defensive touchdown.

"One time the quarterback was in his own end zone, reaching back to throw," Foster says, "and I just reached over and took the ball away from him for a touchdown."

When he wasn't scoring touchdowns, he was scoring knockdowns. In his four years as a starting tackle, he was responsible for more pancakes than Aunt Jemima. He graded out 90 percent as a blocker his senior year, earning recognition as the state's No. 3 prospect on a list compiled by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. Foster also started at center for the Ripley basketball team and threw the shot for the track team.

"Ilove the post," he says of his basketball days. "I didn't really have a passion for the shot put but I think it helped with my explosion."

(NOTE: This is an excerpt from a story that ran in Rocky Top News. The full story is available in the June issue of RTN.)

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