The Patriots dip into the undrafted free agent pool every offseason because they've developed a reputation of finding at least one guy that can play, which makes the top available guys want to sign there. They may have struck gold again with the signing of former Arizona State running back/wide receiver D.J. Foster, a talented offensive player that is a very strong fit in the Patriots scheme. Here is what he had to say following the ASU Pro Day, courtesy of SunDevilSource/Scout.com:
Foster, 21, played his high school years at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Foster was one of the best players on the history of Arizona high school football, rushing for over 5,000 yards over the course of his career. Foster got the ball as a sophomore, but probably not as much as he should as he finished the season with 545 yards rushing and ten touchdowns, and he also had 457 yards receiving. His junior year he was given his shot, and he literally ran with it. Foster ran for 1,421 touchdowns and 22 touchdowns, and he added 43 receptions for 740 yards and four touchdowns. He was also playing defense, finishing his junior year with 60 tackles and seven interceptions. Foster helped lead Saguaro to the 4A-1 State Championship.
Foster's senior year was one for the ages and not just one of the best in Arizona history, it's one of the best in U.S. high school football history. Foster carried the ball 234 for 3058 yards and 60 touchdowns. Let that just set in for a minute. Put it this way- it doesn't matter what league you're in, if you put up those numbers, you're going to get looks from colleges. Once again Foster led Saguaro to the State Championship, proving he wasn't just a stat collector, he's a winner too. Foster was recruited by Arizona State, USC, Cal, Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and LSU. Foster chose to stay home and attend Arizona State.
Foster was thrown right into the mix, appearing in 13 games and carrying the ball 102 times for 493 yards and two touchdowns. Foster was also a key component in the passing game, making 38 receptions for 533 yards and four touchdowns. His sophomore year he received less carries, but he was more involved in the passing game. He carried the ball 93 times for 501 yards and six touchdowns; he also had 63 receptions for 653 yards and four touchdowns. In his first two years at Arizona State, Foster proved that he was one of the best offensive weapons in the country, either running or catching the ball.
His junior season would end up being his best for the Sun Devils. He carried the ball 194 times for 1,081 yards and nine touchdowns. Foster also did damage catching the ball out of the backfield, finishing with 62 receptions for 688 yards and three touchdowns. His best game of the season came against New Mexico; he carried the ball 19 times for 216 yards and one touchdown, and he also had three catches for 54 yards. He also had an excellent game against Notre Dame, running for 120 yards on 21 carries in a big Sun Devil win. Foster helped lead the Sun Devils to a 10-3 record and a win over Duke in the 2014 Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Foster decided he wanted to move to receiver his senior year because he thought he had a better chance of succeeding in the NFL as a slot receiver. He finished with 59 catches, 584 yards, and three touchdowns. Foster also ran the ball a little, but nothing compared to 2014. He carried the ball 55 times for 280 yards and one touchdown. Making the move to the slot probably wasn't the best plan for Foster, but you have to resepct a kid that changes his position as a senior when he had so much success the previous three seasons. If Foster stayed at running back, there is no doubt he would have been drafted, and it most likely would have occurred between the second and fourth round.
Foster's decision may turn out to be a gift for the Patriots because they most likely wouldn't have spent a draft pick on him. They weren't the only team after Foster as they battled his hometown Cardinals for his services, but looking at the Patriots running back depth chart compared to the Cardinals, Foster has a better chance of sticking with New England. James White was an excellent receiver out of the backfield last season, but when they tried to run with him, he was down on first contact literally every time he broke the ball. I honestly don't remember seeing James White break an NFL tackle, and even though he has, they are few and far between.
If Foster can step up and show something in the preseason, and also understand that he's going to need to run the ball with the Patriots, he has a chance to steal White's job just by breaking a few tackles and showing he's a viable NFL running back that can catch the ball with the best of them. New England got a major steal with Foster, and they will find a way to keep him on the 53-man roster.
Statistics Provided by Sports-Reference.com/DJ-Foster
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