It’s not very often that you get a chance to make a comeback after pretty much having to give up doing the very thing you love. Clemson defensive end Justin Foster is looking at doing just that.
Foster announced back on February 24 that he was going to step away from football after missing all of last season due to lingering complications related to asthma and Covid-19. Then earlier this week he contacted the Clemson coaches and told them that he plans to return to the team and resume training for the upcoming season.
To say the Tigers ahead coach Dabo Swinney was excited about the news would be an understatement.
“It’s not often you get a call from a great player that you think is gone and he says he’s coming back,” Swinney said in a statement. “He’s a great leader with great experience and a really talented football player.”
Foster gave Clemson fans reason to fall in love with his doctor when he was asked about how he came to the decision to return.
“For me, the decision came when I went to Duke a couple weeks ago and the doctor was positive on me recovering in the near future,” Foster said. “In the next month or two, she thought I’d recover enough to compete at the college level, and she motivated me and said that if I wanted to play again, she’d encourage me to and support me and she would do the best she could to get me back healthy. She believed that I will be healthy and, for me, that was a big stepping stone.”
Foster has had 66 career tackles (17.5 for loss), seven sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in 756 snaps over 39 career games with 13 starts from 2017-19. His first season as a starter in 2019 saw him earn an honorable mention All-ACC selection and All-ACC Academic honors.
Foster’s return is good news for a defensive front that has expectations of a improved pass rush in 2021. Foster was arguably the Tigers best defensive end in 2019 and adding that kind of production to a defensive line that already consists of players the likes of Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, KJ Henry and Xavier Thomas gives Brent Venables what looks like his best front four since the days of the Power Rangers.