Reuben Foster a big hit

Originally Published: May 24, 2011
By Jamie Newberg | ESPN Recruiting

LaGRANGE, Ga. -- Sophomore linebacker Reuben Foster has people talking.

Known for his violent hits, the LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County star has already developed a huge reputation. College recruiters rave about him, while classmates talk about him in the hallways. And the talk is going to get louder and louder as he gets older.

[+] EnlargeReuben Foster
Courtesy of Jamie NewbergHard-hitting sophomore LB Reuben Foster already has offers from Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Florida.
"Reuben is a tremendous worker who just loves to play the game of football," Troup County coach Clarence Flowers said. "When I say that I mean that. He practices hard. He plays the game hard. The game of football means so much to him. Reuben is so intense out there. He's confident. He wants to hit everything in sight. He's so big, so strong and he runs so well.""

Foster, a middle linebacker, has been a high school starter since Day 1. As a freshman he recorded 110 tackles and he had 112 tackles last year. No word on number of tackles that left fans and opposing coaches speechless.

"Reuben Foster is just a beast," said Harris County (Ga.) High School coach Tommy Parks. "The kid is unreal. I have seen him play and I have coached him at some camps. Reuben's the real deal. He's like a grown man out there on the field."

Foster, 6-foot-1, 228 pounds and just 16 years old, already has verbal scholarship offers from Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Florida, among others.

"I grew up an Alabama fan," Foster said. "I like the Crimson Tide, Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and most of the SEC.

"I want to play in the SEC, but I also want to check out some west coast teams like USC. I also like Texas. This summer I want to camp at Alabama and Oregon."

But don't let his age fool you. He has good football smarts and knows what he's looking for in a program.

"I would rather play in a 3-4 over the 4-3," Foster said. "I think it just suits me better. I am looking at the coaching staffs, tradition and academic support."

For now, though, he's just working on getting better, something that at times causes shudders considering he's just a rising junior.

"It's scary," Flowers said. "To think he's already that big and plays the way he does. What people don't realize is how fast he is and how fast he plays. He runs like a safety and hits like a truck. And Reuben has great instincts."

Even his teammates realize they're in the presence of something special.

"Reuben is something," said teammate Maurice Swain, a 2013 defensive tackle prospect. "I mean he's like an animal out there. I just can't believe some of the plays he makes. It's everywhere on the field."

But for all the accolades, Foster is far from a complete linebacker. If anything, he sometime gets too aggressive out there because he's always trying to bury the ball carrier.

"That's the thing, he's sometimes too aggressive and that's something he has to work on and it will come with more experience and maturity," Flowers said. "He misses some tackles time to time because he wants that big hit. Reuben just wants to hit anything that moves."

Foster knows it, but laughs at the idea that he's too aggressive. Foster just knows he has to play in more control.

"I do," Foster said. "I know I do. That's a little hard for me because of the way I am out there. But I am learning and I am listening to my coaches."

But he has something they can't coach -- his football instincts.

"When the plays begins I just want to hit somebody," Foster said. "I love the contact. Love it. There's nothing like it."

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.