December 22, 2012

Post-Foster Decision

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 9:18 am

Not that it is healthy for anyone to have the decision of a high school senior on which college to attend (unless it’s your kid) affect your day, but that was the second-worst thing of my Friday. The first was slamming into a guardrail amidst gusting wind and ice/slush road conditions.

I really do wish Robert Foster the best at Alabama. It’s his decision, and by all accounts he went back-and-forth on it. At one point earlier in the week, letting his parents know he was probably choosing Pitt. But, then on Friday, he changed his mind once more.

Cynically, the fact that he had such a tough decision suggests it isn’t completely over until signing day.

[Pitt wide receivers Coach Bobby] Engram‘s phone call to [Robert Foster’s mother, Sherrice] Clements — only 45 minutes after the announcement — indicates Pitt will keep an eye on Foster through letter of intent signing day Feb. 6.

“This is a verbal,” said Central Valley coach Mark Lyons, who said Foster “probably” changed his mind multiple times Friday morning. “That‘s why I don‘t know if this is always the best thing to do it this early. But for him, it was the right thing to do.

“I‘m never going to say anything is over, but right now, he is comfortable with this.”

After all, if Saban gets lured to the Cleveland Browns, everything changes.

The fact that his high school coach is calling his decision, less than 2 months to signing day, “early,” is another factor saying that Pitt really can’t give up on Foster yet.

It also means that the attention turns even more strongly to getting Tyler Boyd. Like Foster, it seems Boyd has strong family ties that will encourage him to stay closer to home. Unlike Foster, Boyd has several teams, besides Pitt, that are reasonably close to home.

But football is most definitely Boyd’s No. 1 sport. He already has made a visit to Pitt and has January visits scheduled for Penn State, West Virginia, Rutgers and Michigan State. Schools are recruiting him as a receiver. Boyd was originally going to announce his college choice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Jan. 5. But he might wait to pick a school.

“The recruiting really is getting to be a pain,” Boyd said. “Schools want me to come visit. That’s why I’m not really sure what I want to do.”

Just a hunch, but I think Boyd is going to be a signing day decision. He may be sick of recruiting, but it sure doesn’t seem that he is any closer to a decision.

Foster will be homesick and frustrated with a lack of playing time and transfer from Alabama in his second year.

Comment by move_on 12.23.12 @ 6:47 am

My apologies for lacking the proper attribution Emel: you are the author.
Emel & Justinian make the case completely. Larry Fitz is quoted as saying he came to Pitt because he wanted to make a difference and be someone who helped create.
If there is a more consummate pro than Larry Fitz, I have not seen him.
With Emel as Pres and Justinian as CEO I will gladly take the COO position in the ” Give me your leaders” association.

Comment by SFPitt 12.23.12 @ 7:25 am

Amen! There is time left in this recruiting season and frankly I’m looking forward to seeing a few more good commitments to finish up the class. I like what I’ve seen so far with the offensive linemen being brought on-board. We have good talent at the running back position with Shell and Bennett, and I like the defensive backs and things are looking up. Chryst recognizes that what goes on up front is the most important component and he doing a lot to address that.

Comment by Justinian 12.23.12 @ 7:44 am

I cover high school football and Foster these last two years. If he indeed does go to Bama, it is an indictment of Chryst’s failure to recruit. Foster was giftwraped for Pitt, and coach Engram put a lot of time into him.

The last time I spoke to Foster, after a game in which he scored two second-half touchdowns to push CV to a victory, he told me that it meant a lot to him to perform so well in front of Engram.

How is this kid not going to Pitt?

Comment by Brian 12.23.12 @ 9:44 am

Brian, This is not the end of the world. Bobby Engram did everything he could. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just don’t get everyone you want. That’s particularily true when you’re dealing with 17 years olds without the life experience, to filter out the bullshit. By all accounts, home and family were very important to Foster. Then he talks about having breakfast with Nick Saban. As a coach recruiting, you do the very best job you can, and then you move on the next one. You can’t let it effect you. I won’t fault Bobby Engram or Paul Chryst. It’s just like play, you can’t make them all. You have to put it behind you, and move on the the next play.

Comment by Justinian 12.23.12 @ 10:08 am

@ Emel, to be fair, I think you have to qualify your comment inferring that Foster took the “easy path” when giving his verbal to Bama. Logically, you would be hard pressed to define playing for Coach Saban, under the oppressive media microscope that naturally evolves around a program when it is at the top of the heap like Alabama currently is and of course being obliged to continue to produce the same product that the rabid fan base has become accustomed to, or else the natives get restless, as “the easy path”.

I’m hearing your intent however. Correct me if I’m off base but IMO, I hear you saying that Foster took the “secure” path. Am I right? And I suspect that he probably did so because he is apprehensive about the uncertainties surrounding Pitt’s current football program and feels that Bama gives him a sure bet for his success.

This is pure speculation, but when those kind of decisions are made, it often tends to imply that the individual needs that security to counterbalance other factors that produce insecurity in his own mind.

New coach, new conference, recent history of underachievement that has naturally created a national media impression of an “also ran” football program is hardly a “sure bet” decision if you are going to play for the University of Pittsburgh come 2013.

And IMO, that is why Foster’s decision is Bama. Now to state as fact that he has poor leadership qualities because he decided that he preferred not to accept that risk is also unfair to this kid. You might be right, and he might not want to be “the guy” coming into Pitt being the featured player with high expectations to live up to right out of the gate come Fall camp. Maybe he feels more comfortable blending in with a whole herd of 4 & 5 star players, that will give him the opportunity to blend into the mix gradually without sticking out in the crowd, who knows?

What I do know, for sure, however, is that if he HAD made the decision to come to Pitt, then he would have confirmed, at least in my mind, that he was a risk taker and was up the the challenge of creating something, by his own efforts, that was not there before his arrival on the scene.

That is what Shell did last year and he stated as much. He said he decided to come to Pitt to make a huge difference with his presence. That’s a confident statement, made by a guy who is saying in as many words, “who’s with me”? That is just the kind of kids that we need at Pitt at this juncture in the program.

My continued concern, however, is if Coach Chryst has the required personality to be able to sell that same vision to the recruits that we need to come here to make that vision a reality. When we see guys like Foster go elsewhere, I feel that a lot of the Pitt fan base sees that as an indication that maybe PC isn’t doing a good enough job in that department. And when we don’t get those local blue chippers to stay at home and play for Pitt it does insidiously, negatively effect the entire recruiting process.

Right now, I’m pretty optimistic about where Pitt’s program is headed but getting a guy like Foster on board could have really helped in swinging that recruting momentum in Pitt’s favor going forward. A lot of the angst that I’m hearing on this blog is all about that lost opportunity. Not so much ill will towards Foster, but rather the feeling that we missed out on a game changer that we could have really utilized. Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it?

I just hope that Chryst and company left it with Foster that there is no shame with changing your mind, AGAIN, and that he will remain welcomed if he decides that staying home is ultimely the right decision for him after all. God knows that we could use a whole stable of recruits with such great potential to get Pitt back in the mix of a top level program again.

Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.23.12 @ 10:18 am

more than meets the eye with foster,take a close look at video and comments time will tell, and so will loose lips

Comment by paul shannon 12.23.12 @ 10:39 am

You could gift wrap it, put 20 bows on it, and curl little gold angels on it……………..

when the other choice is pretty much the #1 team the last 5 years or so, puts tons of people in the pros (yes, Pitt has it’s share too), plays pretty much in the national championship game every year, plays in front of 90K and has games against Florida, LSU, and Georgia every week,

Paul Chryst losing him doesn’t faze me a bit.

If we would have lost out to Kansas State or Oregon St or Texas Tech, ya, I be questioning.

Losing out to Alabama, have moved on allready.

Comment by Dan 12.23.12 @ 11:57 am

saban to clevland browns

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.23.12 @ 12:11 pm

saban to clevland browns will never happen
cat steped om key bord that is why the first post says what it does
he will never go back to the pros

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.23.12 @ 12:15 pm

I don’t know Frankcan, They just spoke about it on NFL Today and it’s sounds like he will at least listen, not ruling it out completely. My guess is it may be the money, usually is.

We can hope. If he beats ND, what is left to prove.

Comment by gc 12.23.12 @ 12:30 pm

I am fine losing recruits to Bamy. To the Nitters and Hoopies…no way. To other ACC teams…that would sting. Pitt just needs to start winning and bring an exciting brand of ball back into town. Aggressive on both sides of the ball. I’m not sold on Saban staying in college. These guys have huge egos. If he could get a coaching gig and some GM duties, I don’t think he would pass that up. Plus more money and dealing with adults and not having to abide by silly NCAA rules…not to say he doesn’t operate between the lines. Who’s Pitt’s next recruit to say I do or H2P?

Comment by TX Panther 12.23.12 @ 12:33 pm

new commit DB james julius go pitt go

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.23.12 @ 12:51 pm

PITT committ james julius is 5 foot 10 175 pound
CB from orlando fl
his outher offers were from cincinati and iowa state welcome to pitt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.23.12 @ 1:03 pm

Foster’s father wanted him to go to Alabama, to play for a national championship, his mother wanted Pitt…guess who won! I can’t believe people are blaming PC! It’s going to take PC 3 years to establish himself and then Pitt will be a place to go to – right now Pitt is a work in progress. Still would like to know what was behind Hux leaving!

Comment by markp 12.23.12 @ 1:18 pm

TEX PANTHER and outhers this is what i think
just me but here goes.

pitt will sign 27 players this year the have
21 commits now, they will save one for boyd.

That means they have 5 to give they are done
playing games i think they offer and move on
to the next man.
i think if you want to come to pitt you need to
say yes soon i think the commit start to come a
a lot faster now.

i think the only way that they go past 27 is if some one really special wants to come at the last second like foster or a relly good line men.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.23.12 @ 1:35 pm

Browns probably wait until after season to hire.

Looks like Chryst is picking recruits based on his system and needs – smart.

Long way to signing day.

Comment by frank MD 12.23.12 @ 1:38 pm

Anybody blaming Chryst for losing Foster is being ridiculous. If anything, Chryst deserves credit for battling with Alabama to the very end in spite of Foster’s father pushing Alabama the whole time.

Comment by Floyd 12.23.12 @ 1:39 pm

Floyd – you and I are seeing it the same way…I think the future looks bright under PC…he reminds me a lot of Noll (1-13 first year) in his approach to coaching the basics.

Comment by markp 12.23.12 @ 2:00 pm

markp, I can’t wait to see what Chryst will be able to do next year with Savage at quarterback. I couldn’t agree more that the future looks bright with Chryst. I think they are going to surprise alot of people in their first year in the ACC.

Comment by Floyd 12.23.12 @ 2:09 pm

I like their schedule (not from a cup cake point of view). Very competitive. UNM even though thry had a lousy record gave Boise St a great game and others.

Comment by markp 12.23.12 @ 3:35 pm

Saban the Snake just signed a big extension at Bama for 5 1/2 mil.

Comment by Jackagain 12.23.12 @ 11:27 pm

You know what I like about this blog? No one seems to be accusing the Foster family of being criminals accepting bribes. Fans who are doing that really piss me off.

The only consideration,and I don’t mean illegal, is that as a student-athlete Foster may find the going at Alabama a lot easier than at PITT, but I’m guessing at that.

As I said before – everyone seems to be looking at true FR Challingsworth but he won’t get PT over rsFR Chris Wuestner. He catches anything remotely near him and has decent speed. At 6’2″ and 210 he is the right size for a WR. Honestly I wouldn’t doubt that Wuestner either gets a ton of PT or even might start in Shanahan’s absence.

Comment by Reed 12.24.12 @ 10:37 am

whole reason Foster not coming to Pitt? doesn’t think he can beat out Challingsworth for playing time!!!
bank it!

Comment by Punxy Panther 12.25.12 @ 9:28 pm

@ Punxy Panther, I think somebody had one too many spiked egg nogs after his Christmas dinner. I’m liking Challingsworth’s potential as a Pitt WR recruit too, but REALLY? Foster sidesteps his committment to Pitt because he’s afraid of the competition at the WR position?????

Even a more absurd concept, is he takes the Alabama route so he can do what?? How about compete with a whole lot of talented WRs that are all just as good as Challingsworth, if not better.

Note to punxy Panther, remember not to post anymore on Panther Blather immediately after smoking my stoner brother’s Christmas present. LOL!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.26.12 @ 10:05 am

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