Justin Foster (6’4, 250) of Crest, NC committed to the Clemson Tigers over Georgia and Tennessee at his high school today. Foster is the 14th commitment in the Clemson 2017 class and keeps Clemson’s consensus star ranking extremely high. Clemson is number 7 overall in the composite ranking.
Foster is a consensus 4* prospect and a consensus top 100 player at number 87 overall. He is also the number one overall prospect from the state of North Carolina, the second straight year Clemson has landed the top recruit from the state (last year was obviously uber recruit 5* DT Dexter Lawrence).
The question with Justin is all about position fit at the college level. Will he be a larger LB or can he adapt to playing DE? Clemson recruiters struggled a bit with this question themselves, but ultimately thought Foster’s talent level was needed. Missing on DE Zach Carter to Florida also made this work with regards to numbers at the position. Clemson will still pursue Malik Herring (still a strong Georgia Dawg lean) and some national names, but they think Foster can play at defensive end in a hybrid LB/DE role (basically playing standing up and coming off the edge, while also being able to stick a hand in the ground). Foster has long arms and the wingspan you want from a DE.
Foster is big and strong. He hits very hard and has surprising straight line speed for a guy his size. He does a good bit of coming of the edge, blitzing and causing havoc. He also drops back into coverage, but that won’t be his game in college. I don’t see the lateral quickness to stick at LB. Foster was up to 255-260 pounds before losing some weight before his senior year. He certainly has the frame to carry 270 pounds easily. Personally, I think he is a top 150 player who will need a bit of time to transition to the college level. He will need to find his position and refine his technique (at DE). He will be a good player in time, but needs proper player development. The easy comparison is to Chris Register, a fellow NC prospect who needed to transition from LB to DE, but I think Foster has a higher ceiling than Register.
Foster has family ties to Clemson that helped out in his recruitment. Dan Brooks is his area recruiter and Brent Venables gets the assist. Clemson offered first in his recruitment and stayed patient throughout the process. Tennessee was the main competition, but some of their scandals and how they wanted to use Foster didn’t help their position. Foster was initially attracted to Tennessee’s nice facilities and the stadium capacity (he has been to many Clemson games over the years with his sister attending Clemson). Proximity and familiarity worked in the Tigers favor here ultimately. Clemson also used their engineering program effectively during the All-In Cookout. Clemson LB Tre Lamar is currently in the engineering program and that had a positive impact on Foster.
Another solid addition for Clemson and another quality grab from the state of North Carolina and the Crest program.