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Taylor High star O-linemen Foster, Conner to continue illustrious athletic careers at A&M, Texas

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 12/18/20

The goals are the 2024 Olympics and NFL Draft. That’s always been the M.O. for Bryce Foster, a two-sport star athlete with an impossibly bright future.

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High School Football

STAYING HOME

Taylor High star O-linemen Foster, Conner to continue illustrious athletic careers at A&M, Texas

Posted

The goals are the 2024 Olympics and NFL Draft. That’s always been the M.O. for Bryce Foster, a two-sport star athlete with an impossibly bright future.

On Friday morning, the Taylor High senior offensive lineman and dominant discus thrower and shot-putter chose the next chapter of his career in which to pursue those goals when he put on the maroon and white hat of Texas A&M.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Foster, a four-star recruit and Rivals.com’s No. 1 offensive guard in the class of 2021, picked Texas A&M over Oklahoma, Texas, LSU and Oregon. Foster said he knew as early as Monday, Dec. 7, that the Aggies were it.

Foster declared his choice with a three-minute commitment video during a signing ceremony with teammates at the high school’s performing arts center. When the video was over, Foster picked up the Texas A&M hat placed along the desk he sat at among the hats of the four other schools and placed it firmly upon his tousled hair.

On the football field, Foster will play for Jimbo Fisher and compete with the best of the best in the SEC, regarded as the country’s most competitive college football conference. As a thrower, he will learn under legendary track and field coach Pat Henry and throws coach Juan De La Garza, who has coached eight national champions and three Olympians.

“It was coming down to a decision and I was putting everything together, as far as football, track and field, connections after football,” Foster said. “Who could prepare me to achieve my goals of the 2024 Olympics and draft? A&M is the best spot for that.”

The fact he signed on his 18th birthday only made the day more special.

“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders,” Foster said. “It’s been a fun process, and now it’s a story I can tell my kids one day, like ‘Yeah, I committed to Texas A&M with this cool build-up, on my 18th birthday, and all this type of stuff.’ I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Foster said the effects COVID-19 had on the recruiting process—such as no official visits, spring football or summer camps—made the decision difficult. In the end, he went with what he knew. His mother attended Texas A&M and his brother, Braden Meador, was an offensive lineman for the Aggies.

“A lot of it, I had to go off gut feeling,” Foster said. “I’ve been at A&M ever since I was 10 or 11 years old, since my brother was there. I’ve been to camps and I would stay with him in his dorm room while he practiced. I thought it was the coolest thing that he knew guys like (former Aggie and current Cleveland Brown) Myles Garrett.”

Foster committed and signed on the same day his fellow offensive line teammate, three-star tackle recruit Hayden Conner, publicly signed to the Texas Longhorns. The 6-foot-5, 317-pound Conner verbally committed to Texas on July 23, 2019, and officially signed on Early Signing Day on Wednesday.

After being teammates and helping establish the Mustangs as one of the top teams in the area over the past four years, Foster and Conner will be playing for two schools notorious for their heated rivalry.

“I’m just glad he’s staying in Texas,” Conner said. “I’m glad he’s not going to OU. That’s probably the best thing that came out of today.”

Taylor offensive line coach Travis Sharp vividly remembered watching Foster during his first practice four years ago.

“Somebody was holding a hand shield, and when he came off the ball, he punched and it sounded like thunder,” Sharp recalled. “It really did. I’ll never forget it.”

Since then, Foster, affectionately nicknamed “The Mountain,” has been an irreplaceable part of the Mustangs’ offensive line, playing guard, center and tackle. Sharp said Foster’s hands, feet and strength are “unbelievable.” Foster is the program’s bench-press record holder at 415 pounds. He has allowed only one sack in the last 24 games.

Foster is also a state silver medalist in the shot put and a state bronze medalist in the discus. He is the No. 1 discus thrower in the nation for the class of 2021 and No. 2 in the shot put.

But more than any physical trait, Sharp said it’s Foster’s competitiveness that puts him above and beyond.

“My favorite memory was the day we put him at center (last year against Memorial in the playoffs),” Sharp said. “He shows up and he’s so fired up. He’s screaming and yelling, and I said, ‘Man, Bryce, I’ve never seen you like this.’ He said, ‘Coach, it’s a challenge.’ He embraced that challenge and he met it head on. That shows the kind of person he is.”

Conner and Foster are passionate about putting Taylor football on the map. Taylor made the playoffs just twice in five seasons before the duo arrived on campus. Since then, the Mustangs have made the playoffs each of the last four seasons and won at least one playoff game each of those years; last season, they were Class 6A Division II state semifinalists.

When he was in middle school, Conner had the option of attending Katy High or Taylor. His parents were divorced, and one lived near Katy High feeder Katy Junior High and the other lived near Taylor feeder West Memorial Junior High.

“I had the choice, and I wanted to start something at Taylor,” Conner said in deciding to attend Taylor over the perennial state football power at Katy High. “I think it’s mission accomplished. We did that together, and it’s been really good to change a program with Bryce. I wish we could’ve done it together in college.”

Just as he took pride in turning around a program like Taylor, Conner is looking forward to doing the same at Texas, despite heavy criticism these days surrounding the Longhorns’ play and head coach Tom Herman.

“I know there are bumps during a season and people are going to say this and that, but I know what the UT program is capable of,” Conner said. “I’m going to help change it when I get there. I ignore all that noise because those are people that don’t know anything about the program. They’re just saying stuff. I’m excited about Texas and getting the program back to a national championship.”

Foster said “it’s really big” that he and Conner are staying in-state to continue their college careers. And he’s eager to continue the recent successful pipeline created between Taylor and Texas A&M, joining guys like Max Wright and Braedon Mowry.

“The coaches really helped me mature and grow, as well as the other guys who’ve come through the program like Max Wright, (UCLA defensive lineman) Otito (Ogbonnia),” Foster said. “Humble guys who really helped me and Hayden through this whole process.”

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