Entering his senior season as a Taylor Mustang, Bryce Foster has high hopes for the 2020 season that will kick off for real at the end of this month. He was recently awarded some high praise on the …
Entering his senior season as a Taylor Mustang, Bryce Foster has high hopes for the 2020 season that will kick off for real at the end of this month. He was recently awarded some high praise on the inaugural “Sports Illustrated” 99 list featuring the top college prospects and checked in as the highest-ranked interior offensive lineman recruit.
“Having it behind me is a pretty cool thing just to say, use it as a title but number one it’s going to put a target on my back – a higher target, which I've kind of had throughout all of high school just because I'm a high recruit,” Foster said in an Aug. 27 phone interview. “Honestly, I put all that stuff behind me once it goes in between the white lines. It's everybody on everybody, it's not one versus 11, two versus 11; no, it's 11 on 11 on the field.”
He has embraced that attention and despite not yet landing on a final college choice out of the top five he established in February (Oklahoma, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M, and Texas), the mystery man enters this season focused on the postseason promised land.
“It's definitely a pretty cool thing, you look up ‘Sports Illustrated’ and I always think of the big magazine like when I was younger,” Foster said. “I have that in the back of my mind where I know that if I have a bad practice, I know what I'm really capable of doing so there's no reason really to stress on it. Just keep moving on and as our O-line coach likes to say, Coach (Travis) Sharp, ‘What's our most important play? It's the next one.’”
Sharp applauded Foster and teammate Hayden Conner’s leadership abilities through an uncertain offseason where the coach said they took advantage of the virtual options at their fingertips.
“We took this offseason, as crazy as it was, and looked at it as an opportunity to study the game. Even though we didn't have spring, we got into video and got to really analyze last season,” Sharp said in an Aug. 27 phone interview. “I can't say enough, (Foster and Conner are) going into their senior year, for both of them it will be their fourth year starting for us which is really exceptional.”
The progression he’s shown since his freshman year was something that factored into his high ranking according to John Garcia Jr., director of recruiting for “Sports Illustrated,” who saw Foster in person at the 2017 FBU freshman All-American bowl in Florida. After developing his skills at the high school level, Garcia can see Foster’s transition to the college level being a smooth one, wherever he decides to make his new home.
“He's a smart and aware prospect so I do think there is some scheme versatility with his game. Now, he probably does fit best in a man-to-man blocking, downhill run-first nature but that's just not something prevalent in today's game,” Garcia Jr. said in an Aug. 27 phone interview. “With his zone blocking efficiency, I do think that he could fit in some of these spread, (run-pass option) style offense that really are dominant within the schools that he's looking at.”
However, Foster still knows there is a more pressing task at hand and said he hasn’t been as excited before a season as he is ahead of the 2020 campaign that starts with a scrimmage against Cy Ranch on Sept. 17 ahead of the regular-season opener against Cy Springs at home on Sept. 24.
“Honestly, I think the lowest expectation is a repeat of last year. We have seven guys returning on both sides of the ball so we have a lot of experience going deep into the playoffs,” Foster said. “I think last year, in the third, fourth, fifth round, we had a lot of those jitters; we were really nervous playing in a bigger stadium. Of course, as we go on the teams get better too.”
Even with his sights set on the big prize, Foster will continue doing the dirty work in the trenches that can altogether change the course of any given game.
“One of our evaluators said he's Bryce the bully,” Garcia Jr. said. “He has a lot of what you want both physically, but I think mentally too. He's got some of that nasty in him where there's not a whole lot of that left in football, unfortunately, but it's definitely still there in the trenches. He can be an attitude tone setter just as much as he could be a physical tone setter as well.”