When Angleton High School senior B.J. Foster committed to the University of Texas in June, he grouped himself into one of the most talented safety classes in the country.
The Longhorns have made it clear their recruiting plans include addressing their defensive backfield. Of the 18 commits Texas has collected so far, five of them are defensive backs — the largest number in the class — and three of them are safeties, including Foster, who is the nation’s best high school safety.
It’s a fact that Foster knew when he committed; Foster and rest of the defensive backs in the class have kept in touch with each other throughout their careers.
“We talked about that, and we wanted to stay together,” Foster said. “It’s what we wanted to do.”
Still, football is a competitive sport. It not only involves playing against other teams but also competing against teammates for playing time. And Foster wants to stand out among the Longhorn’s up and coming defensive backs.
That starts with being one of the bigger defensive backs in Texas’ recruiting class. Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 192 pounds, Foster creates matchup problems for offenses. He said size is an issue for some defensive backs when covering taller and bigger wide receivers.
But since Foster is tall and he can run, matchups aren’t an issue.
“When you have a tall safety like me, it doesn’t matter where you put me,” he said.
But there are things about Foster besides his size that stand out. Angleton High School head coach Ryan Roark said he believes Foster’s best contribution to the team is beyond physical traits.
“In my opinion, his greatest attributes on the field are his versatility and instincts,” Roark said. “He can do lots of things for us very well.”
Roark called Foster smart and explosive – two descriptors that Foster proved to be true in his sophomore season. Foster has the awareness to know where to be in coverage to snatch balls out of the air. He blows past offensive players to be the first person to the ball carrier. And, he has the intelligence to not be fooled by trick plays, including one instance where he nearly had an interception on a flea-flicker.
Developing that intelligence involves a lot of film study. In addition to watching film for an hour each day with the team, Foster also watches film on his own at home. When Foster’s day is over, he sits in his room and watches film until he goes to sleep.
But Foster hasn’t been playing safety or been on defense all year. Instead, he’s been playing offense as a running back since the start of the season. Foster has played offense before, but this is the first time he has played the position full-time in high school.
As a result, Foster is able to use the abilities he developed as a safety and enhance them to increase his usefulness on the field. But, more importantly, it gives Foster a better understanding of the game.
“The more spots you can play, the most dangerous it will make you,” Foster said. “But with me playing offense, I kind of know where the hole is going to be.”
Foster has not played safety at all this season, Roark said, but he is still has listed as one on ESPN’s recruiting website. Regardless of what position Foster will play in his first year of college football, Roark believes he isn’t done growing, and his potential to turn the abilities Roark saw in sixth grade into something greater.
“I think hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling,” Roark said. “As he gets bigger and stronger, the natural physicality and durability will get better as well.”