Weak-side defensive end prospect Justin Foster has officially signed his NLI with Clemson. Foster was recruited by recently-retired defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks out of Shelby, North Carolina. Clemson’s only other significant competitor for Foster’s services was Tennessee.
Foster played mostly outside linebacker in high school but is expected to play weak-side defensive end for the Tigers. At 6’4”, 250 pounds Foster has good size and length to play defensive end in college but it will be beneficial for him to gain a few more pounds in his first year or two in the program if he wants to have a chance to start for the Tigers sometime down the road. With the amount of depth we have at the defensive end positions, it will not be surprising to see Foster redshirt his freshman year but if he is able to crack the defensive end the rotation that will be a huge plus for defensive coordinator Brent Venables and new defensive line coach Todd Bates.
Foster definitely has the potential to be at least a solid player for the Tigers but it is unknown yet as to when he will be a significant contributor.
Same as Rudolph, Justin Foster is coming to Clemson to be a LB, but it will be the hybrid LB/DE position. Foster ended up as the 247 Composite 151st player overall after being in the top 75 for much of his recruitment. He slipped down some boards because he really was an athlete without a position. At 6’4 and 250 pounds, it was hard to see him sticking at MLB. At that size he doesn’t have the elite change of direction you want to see. When you project him to DE (or a hybrid standup DE or LB on the line of scrimmage) those critiques are minimized. But we don’t really know how he will play with a hand in the dirt.
I don’t think we should pay much attention to that recruiting dip though. He will have an adjustment period where he learns a new position, but his athleticism still makes him around a top 100 player. He has the frame to add another 20 pounds without much trouble. He has long arms, hits hard, and possesses good straight-line speed. Foster is another recruit likely to graduate.
Clemson beat Tennessee for Foster. UT actually led briefly during his recruitment and Notre Dame attempted to make a late push. Dan Brooks is the retired recruiter of record here—it pains me to type that.