Coach Speak: Justin Foster


SHELBY, N.C. — Clemson landed a big-time commitment on Monday night in Shelby (N.C.) Crest High School four-star linebacker Justin Foster.

Prior to the announcement by Foster during halftime of Crest’s home game against Kings Mountain, Crest head coach Will Clark was kind enough to speak with The Clemson Insider about Foster’s decision.

“I’m just excited for him,” Clark said during an exclusive interview with The Clemson Insider. “It’s been a long recruiting process starting his sophomore year, and getting to this point, I’m just really excited for him to be able to narrow it down and get to go where he wants to go. Coach (Dabo) Swinney and his staff, coach (Dan) Brooks, coach (Brent) Venables, have done a great job throughout the process and have respected his wishes, which is probably number one, what stuck out the most to him.

“So, I think that’s encouraging for him, knowing he can go to a place he’s going to feel loved, that’s going to make him work and also allow him to succeed in the classroom like he wants to.”

In Foster, Clemson is getting a big, athletic and versatile defender.

Foster tipped the scales at 250 pounds in the spring, and the 6-foot-4 player can slot in as an outside linebacker or hybrid linebacker slash rush end.

Clark said he looks forward to seeing how Venables utilizes Foster in his scheme.

“I’m just really excited for him with the way coach Venables moves people around,” Clark said. “Like with (Ben) Boulware, just using what his players do best and making their abilities a whole lot better.”

Swinney has made it clear that he doesn’t just recruit great players, but great people, too.

That’s exactly what Foster is, according to Clark.

“Number one, I think they’re getting an extremely high-character person,” Clark said. “He is going to be where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be at the right time — that’s weightlifting, that’s classroom wise. There’s not a test that he’s not going to study for, and there’s not going a game he’s not going to be prepared for.

“You tell him to do it and he’s going to do it. If he doesn’t do it the right way, you told him to do it that way.”

Foster plans to major in engineering at Clemson.

Clark expects Foster to undergo a smooth transition to college, both off the field and on it.

“I think number one, he’s not going to get outworked,” Clark said. “I can’t wait to see what coach (Joey) Batson does with him in the weight room. … That’s the thing I’m most looking forward to is him getting in that weight room and him transitioning to the academic piece. I’m really excited to watch him grow and go into the engineering department and really get down to what he wants to be doing. I’m excited for him for that.”

Foster is rated by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 1 prospect in North Carolina and the nation’s No. 87 prospect regardless of position in the class of 2017.

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