Former defensive starter decides to leave Clemson

Former defensive starter decides to leave Clemson

Football

Former defensive starter decides to leave Clemson

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reported Wednesday that defensive end Justin Foster is leaving the Clemson Football program.

Swinney said Foster had some special opportunities in his chosen career that he wants to get started on. The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive end graduated from Clemson this past December.

“I tried to talk him out of it, but he had a very tough fall. COVID was a very tough thing for him,” Swinney said Wednesday just before the Tigers hit the practice field for the start of Spring Practice. “Justin is a guy that has always battled asthma and allergies. And when he got COVID last summer, that really, really set him back. He just was not able to do what do what he needed to do. He is way better than he was back in August, but he is still kind of working through that and I was really hoping he would continue that process and hopefully come back and play next year.”

Foster missed all of last season. The defensive end was an honorable mention on the All-ACC team in 2019 after he tallied 41 tackles while starting 13 of the 15 games he played. Foster finished second behind All-American Isaiah Simmons in tackles for loss with 10.5. His 4.5 sacks ranked third on the defense in 2019. He also had 12 quarterback pressures, which ranked second behind Simmons as well.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reported Wednesday that defensive end Justin Foster is leaving the Clemson Football program.

Swinney said Foster has some special opportunities in his chosen career that he wants to get started on. The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive end graduated from Clemson this past December.

“I tried to talk him out of it, but he had a very tough fall. COVID was a very tough thing for him,” Swinney said Wednesday before the Tigers hit the practice field for the start of Spring Practice. “Justin is a guy that has always battled asthma and allergies. And when he got COVID last summer, that really, really set him back. He just was not able to do what he needed to do. He is way better than he was back in August, but he is still kind of working through that and I was really hoping he would continue that process and hopefully come back and play next year.”

Foster missed all of the 2020 season. The defensive end was an honorable mention on the All-ACC team in 2019 after he tallied 41 tackles while starting 13 of the 15 games he played.

He finished second behind All-American Isaiah Simmons in tackles for loss with 10.5. His 4.5 sacks ranked third on the defense in 2019. He also had 12 quarterback pressures, which ranked second behind Simmons as well.

Swinney says Foster met with his family for a long time and he weighed all of his options. But in the end, he was just ready to move on and the Clemson coach said he respects Foster’s decision.

“I checked his oil. I tried to talk him out of it,” Swinney said. “But this is really what he wants to do. I really think he can play at the next level. I don’t think there is any question about that, but there is still a process he has to go through to kind of get back to where he could do that.

“We were all hopeful that he would come back. And honestly, he can even not play next year and come back another year, if it even got to that, but, again, he has his degree. He has a strong relationship with his girlfriend, and he has a great opportunity in front of him doing what he really wants to do that he is really passionate about. That is really what it comes down to.”

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