Before he signed with Georgia Tech last month, Valdosta offensive tackle Antonio Foster appeared destined to play in the SEC for Florida or Tennessee. Foster revealed that he attempted to commit to Florida last spring, but was told that all of the offensive line spots had already filled. He committed to Tennessee in July, but backed off the Volunteers when coach Phillip Fulmer left the program.
Foster spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the path that led him to Georgia Tech:
Q: As you reflect on your decision to sign with Georgia Tech, how does it feel to be a Yellow Jacket?
A: “I feel really good. I’m ready for the 2009 season. My first day at Georgia Tech is June 10.”
Q: It looked like you were going to end up at Tennessee, but the situation there changed. Who actually finished second in the recruitment of Antonio Foster?
A: “Tennessee finished second. Coach Fulmer left and that my reason for going there in the first place.”
Q: At this point, coach Lane Kiffin arrives on the scene at Tennessee. After you de-committed to the Vols, did Kiffin make a major push to get you back in the fold?
A: “He sent two assistant coaches to come see me.”
Q: That’s it? Kiffin never came to Valdosta to visit you?
A: “No. I was disappointed that he didn’t.”
Q: So what kind of pitch did you hear from the assistants?
A: “They said a lot of things that made me think. They were like ‘you never fell out of love with Tennessee. You commit and it’s like you’re married. You’ve still got a love for Tennessee.’ It actually got to me.”
Q: At this point, you had already committed to Georgia Tech. Was there every any consideration to get back onboard with Tennessee?
“I stayed with Georgia Tech because that’s where my family is [in metro Atlanta]. And I felt like it was a good decision.”
Q: So what was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
A: “I committed to Tennessee too early. I should have taken more visits.”
Q: What school or coach made the most creative pitch?
A: “It was at Tennessee when I went on the Vol walk. Eric Berry came by and shook my hand. There were a lot of fans there. When I got out on the field that day, I felt like I was in the NFL.”
Q: Did you maintain any secrets while you were being recruited?
A: “Florida was my first love. They offered me. I committed to Florida and had called them and they said it was too late. Everybody on the offensive line had already committed.”
Q: How did you react to that news?
A: “I was kind of distraught. They said I was their No. 1 recruit. They were sending me letters. They said if anybody de-committed in that area, I’d get their spot. But I knew nobody would de-commit from Florida. If they did, it was going to be a miracle. But everything has worked out for the best.”