Varsity Preps

Running Up Hill: Tim Foster, LB Pleasant Grove HS Class of 2015

When you first flip on film of Pleasant Grove High School’s defense, Tim Foster is an easy player to spot. The general response from anyone who is familiar with the 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore linebacker would tell me that I’m writing the obvious, but in fact I’m not. As talented and physically imposing as Foster is, Pleasant Grove doesn’t make him easy to find.

Their defensive scheme consists of plenty of different looks. First you’ll see the young player lining up as a MIKE in their 4-3, however he’ll move to SAM as well and rush off the edge. They will also stem a linebacker into the nines for a 5-2 look where Foster is impressive at both MIKE and SAM. When they switch to a 3-4, you can him at five-tech taking up double teams. He’s also a force to be reckoned with off the edge in the four-man front. In other words, finding Foster can be tricky and when you combine that versatility with his talent you have the ingredients to drive the opposing coordinator nightmares.

For the Pleasant Grove, Ga., native it has become normal however.

“It was difficult at first to know all of my responsibilities in each scheme, but because I started my freshman year I caught onto everything quickly with the help of some senior leaders on the team,” Foster said. “I really enjoy playing SAM and defensive end the most. Playing at SAM you just get more contact and getting to make plays and at end I thrive with that competition. You go up against those big, talented big boys and I love that. That’s where I feel you’ll see the best come out in me. For example, when I went against the best offensive tackle in the state I had three sacks, two forced turnovers and three pass deflections. I just get up for those games.”

“When you get into those games you have to know what the task ahead of you is and attack it, but at the same time you have to realize it’s a team sport. The task is to take care of your house and have the rest of your team do the same.”

As a senior, Foster had 65 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, four interceptions, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named first-team All-County for his exemplary play for the Spartans.

Pleasant Grove High School went 7-3 this season and lost in the first round of the playoffs, but Foster certainly didn’t go down without a fight. Going up against Pinson Valley who is a loaded squad the versatile linebacker had an outstanding game.

“They had a wide receiver that is going to Auburn (Earnest Robinson), a linebacker Zach Cunningham (Alabama offer, among many others) and a running back in Nick Gibson who is talking to Nick Saban (and has a Mississippi State offer as a junior),” Foster explained. “I actually made Gibson fumble in the 4th quarter with five minutes to go which gave us momentum, but our offense couldn’t score. They came back on the field and we stopped them dead at the goal line again. When our offense got the ball back they couldn’t score again. Finally, Earnest got in the end zone and we lost by six points. I ended up with five tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles in the game.”

This off-season, Foster plans on really improving certain parts of his game more than others.

“I’ll be working on my speed, opening up my hips and doing a lot of lifting obviously,” Foster stated. “My coach told me I really don’t need to get bigger, but it’s about core strength and becoming a more athletic player over the off-season. I just get out of the house every day and work out on my own too, making sure I get fruit and water in me to stay healthy.”

Frankly after watching his sophomore highlights, I feel Foster is definitely on the right track here.

View Tim Foster’s Sophomore Highlight Film

 

Right now his pad level and overall body control – starting at the hips – are areas where he has the most room for improvement. At the linebacker position you have to play low and Foster does tend to come high, therefore on all plays he doesn’t change direction very fluidly. However, when he does come into the backfield with a low center of gravity, he will flip and dip to make really nice plays. Simply put, it’s not a matter of him not having the athleticism but simply repetition and muscle memory. He needs to keep low and work on his explosion.

Foster may not be an extremely instinctual linebacker at this point, but not all linebackers are. He does read and react very well which is simply different. I see sound tackling for the most part, very physical play against linemen and the ability to shed and move on the ball in one motion. Foster is aware of what is happening around him. He is very stout. The added dimension he brings as a pass rusher is also impressive.

What remains to be seen is how much he continues to grow. He could end up as a 3-4 outside ‘backer or defensive end.

The rest of his family wasn’t bad in the area of sport either.

His father, Tim Foster Sr., played baseball for Jackson State University in college. His uncle was also a running back for Tennessee State and spent time in training camp for the Cleveland Browns. He hopes to follow in his uncle’s footsteps for football while his father wants him in baseball.

Foster is very set on what he wants to do.

“ I’ve always loved football so much more. The first time I held a football it was just special. I had two older brothers that were great at the sport and they worked with me and teach me how to run routes starting at four years old. We were just out in the back yard when I was a little kid, getting taught how to run my post routes the right way. My brothers played wide receiver and running back, but they didn’t want to play in college and pursued higher education exclusively.”

Both his mother and his father have given him sage advice.

“My father has always taught me that football is always going to be there, but it’s the impact that you leave on your life and on football,” Foster told us. “On the other hand, every day before I leave the house my mother tells me that we all make choices but at the end, our choices make us.”

Foster and his older brother have a bit of a training ritual that they do on a regular basis. It was one that seemed quite fitting for what his mother tells him every day.

“My brother takes me to my grandmother’s house where there is a huge hill I run up all the time,” Foster offered. “This thing is huge. I mean it takes literally two or three minutes to get to the top sprinting at full speed, so when you get there, you’re just done. The one thing is, when you get to the top you’re overlooking the entire city and look back and see the bottom of that hill. It’s sweet. You’re on top of the world for a minute and you made it, just like life.”

So, every day Tim Foster follows his mother’s advice making the choice to run up those hills, both literally and figuratively.

 

Tim Foster’s Upper Hand Profile

 

 

 

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