Justin Foster: Clemson is a "big, happy family"


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Foster during his ceremony Monday night
Foster during his ceremony Monday night

SHELBY, NC – Outside linebacker Justin Foster became Clemson’s 14th commitment for the 2017 recruiting cycle when he gave his verbal to the Tigers during a halftime ceremony at the game between Shelby (NC) Crest and Kings Mountain Monday night.

The game, originally scheduled to be played last Friday, was moved to Monday because of Hurricane Matthew and coincided with the school’s 50th-year football celebration.

His finalists were Clemson, Georgia, and Tennessee, but Foster said Clemson did the best job in recruiting.

"They did a good job of recruiting me, everybody on the coaching staff. They always talked to me about the friendly, family atmosphere and made it feel real comfortable down there," Foster told TigerNet. "Coach (Dan) Brooks and Coach (Brent) Venables. We talk on the regular. They kind of feel like they are my coach because we talk so much, especially Coach Venables. He talks about defense and how he can use me in so many different ways. I just felt really comfortable with them, and our relationship grew over time."

He said Clemson was the clear favorite with Georgia in second place. However, it was Clemson's promise to let him rush the passer that helped put the Tigers over the top.

"Georgia was still up there a little bit," he said. "I was still in contact with their coaches, but Tennessee had kind of slacked off towards the end. I like rushing the passer, and that is something Clemson is known for using their defensive ends for rushing the passer. Wherever they use me, at linebacker or defensive end, they know my strength is rushing the passer so they will find a way to put me doing that. I like a little bit of both (linebacker and end), but where ever they stick me, I am going to work hard and try to do the best I can at it."

Foster is a consensus 4-star recruit by all the major recruiting services and the #1 player in the state of North Carolina for the 2017 cycle. He was in attendance two weeks ago for the epic battle between Clemson and Louisville. His sister was also a student at Clemson.

His decision was made a few weeks earlier, however.

"I would probably say it was a couple of weeks before at the Clemson and SC State game. I kind of kept it to myself a while," Foster said. "I wanted to visit a couple more times and see how it felt, make sure I was comfortable with everything. Both of the visits went well. I just felt comfortable. I didn't want to visit anywhere else, so I was just like I might as well call them and go ahead and commit."

He said his family is fully on board with his decision.

"They love Clemson. They know all the coaches and stuff," Foster said. "I kind of kept them out of the recruiting process as much as possible because so many people around here like Clemson I didn't want too many people in there in my recruiting process. So my family kind of stayed out of it a little bit. Most of them didn't know until today."

Clemson is known for its family atmosphere, and that's something that was attractive to Foster.

"You can feel it. All the people are so friendly. It's not just an act they are putting on," he said. "You talk to different players. At the All In Cookout, you could tell they are just a big happy family."

Clemson defensive tackle coach Dan Brooks gave him his first football offer. Since then, Foster has offers from Alabama, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

He has been selected to play in both the U.S. Army All-American and Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star games.

Foster is also an exceptional basketball player - he was ranked as the #8 player in North Carolina by BigShots.net.

Foster is the third linebacker to pledge to Clemson this cycle, but where he ends up at Clemson remains to be seen. Baylon Spector (Calhoun, Ga) is listed as a safety and Logan Rudolph (Rock Hill, SC) is listed as a defensive end, both are projected to be linebackers at Clemson.

At 6-4, 247 pounds, Foster plays on the outside for Crest, and he said he plans on the Clemson coaching staff either telling him to lose weight or add more muscle.

"I guess when I get there they will probably tone me up. Whatever they want to do," he said. "If they want to use me at defensive end they probably put a little more on. At linebacker, they probably will just keep me around here or slim me down just a little bit."

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