After a tough, season-ending, playoff loss Friday night, ESPN 150 linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) made the trip up to Athens with friends and former high school teammates Joe Sanders (LaGrange, Ga./Troup) and Christian Cumberlander (LaGrange, Ga./Jireh Prep). Foster had a familiar face waiting for him inside Sanford Stadium for the Georgia Tech-Georgia game.
“I came up [Saturday] to spend time with my brother Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and to get back cool with the Georgia staff and see how everything is going,” Foster said. “It seems like it is going great and they are on a roll.”
The staff made sure the No. 24 prospect in the country knew that even with four inside linebackers already committed, they felt he could be a difference-maker in the Bulldogs’ defense.
“Georgia told me that I am doing a great job and that I could fill some shoes on the defense and play a big role as a leader on the defense,” Foster said.
Foster is committed to Auburn, but the team's 3-9 record this season has brought rumors of possible coaching changes for the program. The Tigers’ staff is leaning heavily on Foster to maintain the 2013 recruiting class.
“The Auburn staff is telling me to stay strong,” Foster said. “They know everything is bad right now and going south, but they want me to stay strong and hold this class together.”
The plan for now is for Foster to monitor the situation and see what the future is for the Auburn coaches. Matthews said Foster recently hinted to him that if Auburn decides to go in a different direction, Foster might do the same in regards to his recruitment. That resulted in Matthews predicting a switch from Auburn to Georgia for Foster. Foster was not ready to confirm plans to change his commitment status on Saturday.
“We talk about the situation at Auburn and UGA, and I put it out there that everything is hard right now and with the coaches getting fired,” Foster said. “If I say something right now, I would be saying it with anger and not like I meant it. It is so hard. I do not know what to do. The coaching staff staying at Auburn will play a huge role because of the relationship I have with them. They are like family to me, just like Mark Richt is.”
One thing that Foster is not looking forward to is the backlash that could come with such a decision.
“You got fans talking about this and fans talking about that,” Foster said. “I do not want to be judged again. I left Troup High School [in LaGrange] because one coach got fired. Now another coach is getting fired and I move again, that is another situation to talk about, which I do not want. So I am playing smart about both sides and trying to figure out a lot of things about what I can do in life.”
As he struggles to figure out what his next step will be, Foster is leaning on his best friend’s mom for guidance.
“I talk to Tray’s mom, aka my mom, and she tells me not to worry about it, to stay focused and to do what you need to do,” Foster said. “She said she would love to have me up here being a Bulldog but to put Jesus Christ in your heart and going forward that he would lead me on my way. No matter what people say, only you can fulfill your dream.”