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Texas A&M Football Recruiting

Speculation to signing: Inside Texas A&M signee Bryce Foster's recruitment

February 9, 2021
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On a memorable summer weekend, Bryce Foster‍’s future was seemingly cast: He was offered scholarships by then-Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman and then-Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

That’s not surprising.

Foster is a 6-foot-4, 320-pound five-star prospect who’s as strong and ornery as a Brahma bull.

The offers from Pittman and Malzahn weren’t surprising. What was surprising was those offers were extended before Foster was even in high school.

It was the summer of 2017.

Foster had just finished eighth grade — and was already 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds. His parents, Eric and Heidi, headed east on Interstate-10 to take their son to the offensive line camps of the teams that would vie for the SEC championship later that year.

“Georgia was the first one,” Heidi says. “They pulled him out of the group of middle-schoolers and told him to go with the high school seniors. He got whipped pretty good, but he went back for more. Then, he started holding his own.

“Sam Pittman offered him his first scholarship, and it started from there.”

The offer from Pittman, who became Arkansas’ head coach after the 2019 season, started an intense, whirlwind recruiting competition for Foster’s signature.

TexAgs
Texas A&M offered Bryce Foster in late January of 2018, following his freshman year of high school.

His was a recruitment shrouded with speculation and misinformation before it ended last December with Foster opting to join the “Maroon Goons” offensive line and sign with Texas A&M.

The day after the offer from Georgia, Foster attended a camp at Auburn.

The visit ended much like the one at Georgia.

“I remember doing all camp workouts, and (offensive line) coach (Herb) Hand told coach Malzahn to come check this out,” Bryce says. “They didn’t believe it when I told them how old I was. They had a GA take me for a tour, and then they took me to coach Malzahn’s office. We talked for a little bit, and he offered me.”

The Fosters knew scholarship offers would come.

The family had been through the process with their older son, Braden Meador. After a brief stint at Yale in 2012, Meador walked-on at A&M. However, the Fosters didn’t expect the offers to come even before Bryce had played a down at Katy Taylor High School.

“I remember the expressions on their faces,” Bryce says of his parents’ reaction. “I think they were just as confused as I was. We were looking at each other like, ‘What did he say? Did that just happen?’ ”

There shouldn’t have been any doubt Bryce’s profile would continue to grow. Growth was never an issue for him. He weighed 100 pounds in kindergarten. He was 200 pounds in fifth grade.

“I haven’t carried that boy since he was three. He was always bigger than everybody else. He was always a tough, little kid.”
- Heidi Foster, Bryce Foster’s mother

“He never was chunky,” Heidi says. “From the time he was a toddler, he always had a big neck, big calves and huge, massive feet. He never had fat rolls. He was just a massive individual.

“I haven’t carried that boy since he was three. He was always bigger than everybody else. He was always a tough little kid.”

It didn’t take long for other coaches to recognize his combination of size, talent and toughness.

Soon after Bryce entered the ninth grade, he received his third offer, this time from the Miami Hurricanes. Many more followed.

According to national recruiting services ESPN, Rivals and 247sports, at least 25 programs offered Bryce a scholarship, including Texas A&M’s SEC rivals LSU, Georgia, Florida and Auburn.

By the spring of 2018, college coaches were visiting on a regular basis.

“Everybody you can think of came through here, I guess, except for (Alabama head coach Nick) Saban,” Katy Taylor High School coach Chad Simmons said. "Pretty much every name you can think of was here the past two years.

“It almost became routine. For those two years, there was somebody every day. A name you would know pretty much every day. I’ve been a coach for 34 years. I had never been around that before. There was a parade of them coming by every day.”

NCAA rules allow recruiters to contact prospects by mail beginning on Sept. 1 of their junior year. Coaches cannot make contact via telephone until April 15 of their junior year.

On the afternoon of Sept. 1, 2019, Bryce received about 15 recruiting letters.

Three days later, he checked the mail again. There was a cardboard box full of more than 200 letters. A few weeks later, he filled a large rubber tub with more than 1,500.

Phone calls from recruiters began at 12:01 a.m. on April 15, 2020. The calls rarely stopped.

Also an elite track prospect, Bryce also plans to compete in the shot put and discus in college. Some coaches made it clear they wanted him to focus only on football. Those who did were immediately eliminated from consideration.

Eventually, Bryce decided on the final five programs that he would consider: LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M.

He really liked Texas offensive line coach Herb Hand, who was at Auburn when Malzahn offered the scholarship when Bryce was 14.

He had been an Oregon fan since watching running back LaMichael James, a Texas native, lead the Ducks to consecutive 12-win seasons in 2010 and ’11. Bryce’s grandmother was a big Ducks fan, too.

He had developed a close relationship with Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, who had a history of putting linemen into the NFL. Bryce’s interest was further piqued when four of Bedenbaugh’s linemen were selected in the 2019 NFL draft.

Foster also developed a close relationship with A&M offensive line coach Josh Henson.

A few other factors worked in A&M’s favor: College Station is about an hour away from Katy, A&M’s track program — coached by the legendary Pat Henry — is among the nation’s elite, and his mom and his brother are A&M alums.

Therefore, it was especially exciting when Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher made a recruiting visit.

“The first time we met Jimbo Fisher, I was pretty star-struck. It was like, ‘Oh, my God, we just met Jimbo Fisher,’ ” Heidi said. “Me and his brother were hoping for an A&M offer. It was a big one.”

Heidi says she never tried to direct Bryce to Texas A&M. The decision was his alone.

“I think A&M is the best school ever, and the ‘Aggie Network’ is undeniably good,” she says. “But I had to step back. It was important to make the decision on his own. His recruitment was his journey, not mine.”

Early last year, Bryce narrowed his list to Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Foster’s commitment represented a massive recruiting victory for Jimbo Fisher over Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma.

Eric put together a spreadsheet to compile the pros and cons of each program. The first analysis indicated he should go to Oregon. Six months later, they updated the data. Oklahoma was the leader.

On March 10, Bryce made an unofficial visit to Oklahoma’s spring practice. Almost immediately, reports surfaced that he had committed to the Sooners.

“My brother and mom are always on TexAgs. Any time there was a new thread about me going to Oklahoma, they’d tell me about it,” Bryce says. “There was a rumor that I had previously committed to Oklahoma. That was completely false. I don’t know who would spread that information.”

Heidi knew Bryce liked the Oklahoma coaches, and Oklahoma’s track coaches had become involved in his recruitment even before A&M’s Henry did. Yet, she insisted a commitment was never made.

“At no point was he about to commit,” she said. “I don’t know where that came from. He visited OU for spring practice and was also going to go to LSU and A&M, but COVID shut everything down.”

A few months later, Bryce again updated the data for a final analysis.

Texas A&M came up as the leader.

Educational opportunities were excellent. The Aggie Network offered contacts for the future. The football team was surging under Fisher. Bryce really liked Henson. The track & field program was an incredible draw. The proximity to home was appealing.

Making mom happy ... well, that was a bonus.

Still, Bryce wrestled with the decision.

Nobody — not even his parents — knew if he favored Oklahoma or Texas A&M.

Then came a Zoom call with Fisher on Dec. 10.

During the call, Bryce excused himself to go to the restroom.

In actuality, he phoned his brother to reveal that he was about to commit to A&M.

Braden was working on a commitment video. Bryce alerted him so his brother could record the announcement.

“I was nervous. I was looking for a good time to do it because coach Fisher likes to talk a little bit,” Bryce said. “So, I just said, ‘Alright, let’s get this done.’ I said ‘Coach, I want to commit today.’ Everybody freaked out, was crying and going crazy.”

Said Heidi: “I was shocked. I was excited. I didn’t know he’d do it in front of us. I thought he would keep it a secret until he signed the following week.”

Fisher was caught by surprise, too.

“I wasn’t ready for it at the time, but I didn’t complain,” Fisher said. “I wasn’t griping about it too much. It was alright with me.

“The sky is the limit for him. (He’s) very gifted. Everybody sees how big and strong he is, but what you don’t realize is the athleticism — the lower body flexibility he has, the power he has. That’s what creates the power. Not just the upper body, but the lower body.

“That’s why he’s such a great discus thrower and such a great shot put thrower. He can create power from low to high, which is the way football is played.”

Ryan Brauninger
Bryce with his parents, Eric and Heidi, on the morning he signed with the Aggies.

A few days later, when he had become more settled with his choice, he called Bedenbaugh to tell him the A&M decision was final.

“He said, ‘Alright, but if you ever have a second thought, here’s a place to take you.’ ”

Bryce ended his recruitment on Dec. 18 when he signed a national letter-of-intent with Texas A&M. Later that day, Bryce had perhaps the best game of his high school career in a 28-13 playoff victory over Houston Heights.

He’s confident Texas A&M was the right choice.

Heidi is, too. So much, in fact, that she’s quite literally bought in.

“I’ve already ordered my ‘Maroon Goon Mom’ t-shirt,” she said.

Discussion from...

Speculation to signing: Inside Texas A&M signee Bryce Foster's recruitment

8,277 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Caesar4
randy828
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AG
Awesome! Great story. Congratulations and Gig'em!
I was in the room here one day... watchin' the Mexican channel on TV. I don't know nothin' about Pele. I'm watchin' what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in - upside down and backwards... the dang (sc) goalie never knew what the hell hit him. Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium waving it around his head. Everybody's screaming in Spanish. I'
Ewok It Out08
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AG
Great article! Stoked he chose the Ags!
TAMU74
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ccatag
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Self-Made
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AG
Great Article!
Papa Joe
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AG
Awesome!!!

Gig 'em, Bryce Foster!!!
Expert Witness
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AG
I enjoyed the article. It's also terrifying how much this place could affect a recruit's decision. Wish some idiot posters would type less.
New Braunfels Ag
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I'm more excited about Bryce than any recruit in quite a while! I'm a little biased since I ran track at A&M, but man he's going to totally dominate on the field. I think he should have been top 10 nationally. And I love how happy his mom was when he committed!

Bryce, this was the right decision bro. There's nothing that compares with the brotherhood of Aggies, the loyalty, the integrity, the appreciation for values and character. We got your back from now on my friend! And your families too!
Matsui
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Ol Rock
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Caesar4
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