Print and Go Back Football [Print without images]

Friday, December 21, 2012
Robert Foster commits to Alabama

By Jared Shanker
ESPN RecruitingNation

For the second year in a row, Alabama has landed the nation's second-best receiver. This time, it is Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley's Robert Foster.

Luginbill: Big pickup for Tide

Robert Foster, who is No. 28 in the ESPN 150 and the No. 2 wide receiver in the nation, has been a significant target for Alabama from the start. He brings more speed and depth to go along with freshmen Amari Cooper and Chris Black. Since it signed Julio Jones back in 2008, Alabama has not been as successful at landing wide receivers as it has been at other positions and that's why Foster's commitment is so pivotal. Plus, Foster is a dynamic return specialist who is versatile and productive in the slot as well as on the outside. This is an upgrade in talent and playmaking ability for the Tide.

-- Tom Luginbill

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Foster committed to the Crimson Tide at a ceremony at his school Friday, picking Alabama over Pittsburgh.

The Panthers were considered the favorite by many, but Foster's three trips to Alabama -- including an October official visit -- made too much of an impression on Foster.

"I love Alabama. They make me feel comfortable," Foster said Tuesday. "Coach [Nick] Saban, we sat and ate breakfast at his house, and we spoke about what I have to do to be a better man."

A dynamic returner and receiver, Foster follows Chris Black, the No. 2 receiver in 2012, who committed to the Tide.

After Foster's official visit to Alabama in late October, he tweeted he was ready to make a commitment. He later backed off, but he wrote that his father favored Alabama, while his mother wanted him to go to Pittsburgh.

His father, Robert Foster II, liked the Tide better because he believed Foster could play for a national championship in Tuscaloosa, but he did not push his son the Tide's way. The school had to work to get Foster's mother on board, who initially did not approve of Alabama.

"I needed to have reassurance they could accommodate him on the academic level," Sherrice Clements said Wednesday.

Education was the biggest factor in Foster's commitment. After struggling academically his freshman and sophomore years, Foster has made the classroom his focus and stays after school with a tutor twice a week.

At Central Valley, Foster has an extensive circle and group for support. Alabama was able to show him they can provide the same for him.

"The most important thing," he said Tuesday, "is the academic and support system."