Brandon Foster wasn't well known by even the most die-hard recruiting junkies at the time of his commitment back in late June. Most of the attention he had been receiving came from the smaller Texas-area schools, such as TCU and SMU. His rise from an honorable mention all-district selection to garnering a scholarship from The University of Texas was a surprise to everyone. But with a blue-collar work ethic as well as another year of instruction from a group of NFL DBs, Foster had improved enough in a single off-season to land an offer from the school he had always wanted to attend.
"I was really privileged to workout with a few NFL players," said Foster. "The last two summers I have gone to my uncle's (former Steelers running back Barry Foster's) house in Southlake Carroll. And I trained with Ray Crockett (Chiefs/Broncos), who taught me the skills and technique needed to play the position. Ray Mickens (Jets), Aaron Glenn (Texans), Anthony Dorsett (Raiders) and Darrien Gordon (Packers/Broncos/Chargers) chipped in also. And the whole time they practiced with me was for one goal. And that was to get me a scholarship to Texas. I feel that I have learned a little something from every one of those guys."
According to Foster, the techniques he learned were how to play "bump-and-run" coverage and how to "play off". More specifically, he said, "they taught me what to look for in the wide receivers. You know, his tendencies...what he does when he breaks. Like, does his hand go up or do his feet stop moving when he breaks. Just things like that can help you a lot. Watching the quarterback's tendencies can be helpful too."
Nice to see a couple of Aggie cornerbacks in Mickens and Glenn, helping a kid whose lifelong dream was to play for the Longhorns.
"Everybody was about getting me a scholarship first," said the 5-foot-8, 170-pound corner from Arlington Bowie. "Sure, Ray (Mickens) and Aaron (Glenn) would tease me and say I needed to go to A&M over UT. Usually, I'd laugh and sometimes give 'em some back. Ray was on me the most and liked talking up A&M. Sometimes, I would tell him Texas was better and to just look at their records," Foster said as he chuckled. "They couldn't say a whole lot then!"
With a 32" vertical leap and a terrific 4.11 in the 20-yard shuttle, the DB from Bowie also has the extra gear needed to play in Duane Akina's secondary. He has that corvette speed the top programs around the country are looking for. And you get the notion that having NFL players to work out with provided several opportunities for Foster -- who clocked the fastest forty time (4.3) of any DB at the Longhorn camp -- to test his wheels against the Porsches and Ferraris.
"I never won any of the races, but I'd be in the mix in the front, like Mickens and Glenn were, because we have that burst," said Foster. "And I was right in the mix with Dorsett in the end."
When asked about Dorsett rumored to be a bit slow for an NFL free safety, he said, "Yeah, I know, but it's a myth. Dorsett isn't as fast in the forty, but just as we got past the forty when running 100-meter sprints, not only was he right there with us, he'd close the gap and win every time. Dorsett is really fast and it surprised me too."
Possessing the necessary tools to blanket most wide receivers and pursuing his dream to don the Burnt Orange, Foster headed for the three-day camp in Austin in June. It was the second day of the camp that the attention surrounding Foster began to noticeably increase. Foster said, "My high school coach was with me and told me to keep doing what I was doing because the (Longhorn) coaches were telling him how impressed they were with my feet and ability to cover. Next thing I know, Mack Brown is watching the DB drills and they're (Texas coaches) wanting me to cover the best wideouts in the camp, finally settling on the guy from Florida named Jimmy Sutton (currently a soft Longhorn commit). We just went back and forth. I won some and he won some, but he was by far the best wide receiver I have ever seen. His routes were so disciplined and he only dropped one pass the whole time he was there. That is what impressed me the most about him. Every time the ball was there and he had an edge on me, he caught it. But I made some great plays myself."
Needless to say, Texas was sold on both as they boosted each other's stock by competing extremely well against each other. However, Brown wanted to see a full qualifying score on Foster before officially offering a scholarship. The 3-star cornerback said, "I had taken the SAT the week before and paid an extra fee to get my test scores early. My score was good enough so my family and I made the trip to Austin for a visit and walk-through of the facilities."
Foster said he tried not to smile and show his enthusiasm too much because he wanted Mack Brown to think he was serious and all. As for his mother and father, he said they weren't able to hide it.
Stacey Dean covered recruiting in the state of Texas for Horns Illustrated before joining Inside Texas. His prospect updates will appear frequently on InsideTexas.com.