On Jan. 27, 2012, four-star recruit D.J. Foster sat in the Scottsdale Saguaro High School gymnasium with three hats under a table.
It was time for Foster, Scout.com’s No. 12 running back in the nation, to decide where he wanted to play football for the next four years.
Foster had narrowed his choices to ASU, USC and California, but it took only 39 seconds of his press conference for him to make his decision.
He was staying home to be a Sun Devil.
When Foster takes the field on Saturday, Sept. 28, things will come full circle for the sophomore tailback.
“I was always confident with (the decision),” Foster said. “From day one, I knew where I wanted to be.”
Foster played on the road against recruiting rivals USC and California last season, but he will face the Trojans, a team with which he is very familiar, and that includes one of his Saguaro teammates, redshirt sophomore left guard Cyrus Hobbi, at home for the first time Saturday.
“Just seeing all those faces and knowing all of those coaches and players and stuff, it’s fun playing against people you know,” Foster said.
Foster has found his place in Tempe, though, and continues to flourish on and off the field.
“I’ve met a lot of new guys and meshed with a lot of them and have relationships all around the team on both offense and defense,” Foster said.
One of these new relationships is with redshirt sophomore defensive back Jordan Simone, who transferred from Washington State this year.
Simone said he didn’t know too much about Foster until the Sun Devils and Cougars played last year, but the relationship between the two has grown so much that they are now roommates.
Simone said he is happy to have Foster, who had more than 1,000 yards of total offense his freshman year and is on pace to do so again, with him at ASU.
“He’s just a good dude, just like one of the other guys,” Simone said. “He’s not cocky, which is a blessing for somebody with that much talent.”
Foster’s high school coach, John Sanders, said he knew Foster never lacked talent.
Foster’s poise and maturity struck Sanders, who followed his star player to ASU and is now the Coordinator of Football Operations.
Sanders has seen first-hand the player and man Foster has quickly become.
“He’s really adjusted rapidly to Divison I football and the pressure of being a hometown kid with a lot of success in high school,” Sanders said. “I think he had a great freshman year and will only build on it this year and every year.”
A moment that really stuck with Sanders happened before Foster’s first career game against NAU last season.
Sanders said they had a nice talk on the sidelines before the game and everything since then has clicked on another level.
“The first ball thrown to him he caught for a first down,” Sanders said. “Since then, he has never looked back.”
The full circle aspect has finally hit Sanders, too, and he said Saturday will be the breaking point.
“It’ll go real full circle once we beat the dog out of (USC) on Saturday,” Sanders said.
Sanders backed Foster, saying “he’s real comfortable and real confident” with his decision to come to ASU over the Trojans and Bears a year and a half later.
“(Cal coach) Jeff Tedford got fired, (USC coach) Lane Kiffin is feeling a whole bunch of heat and (ASU) Coach Graham just signed an extension, so (Foster) feels really good about where he’s at, and I feel really good about the decision he made,” Sanders said. “People are going to remember D.J. Foster for a long time around Tempe for what he’s going to accomplish around here.”
Foster, true to his character, downplayed the USC game’s storylines, saying there won’t be any extra motivation playing against his friends or the coaches he turned away.
Instead, Foster’s focus is purely to help the Sun Devils win their first conference game of the season and further build upon his experience at ASU.
“I love to win, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not the only reason I came here,” Foster said. “I’m happy with my decision.”
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