Player Profile #57 – LB Mason Foster

Who has ever heard of a football player, especially a defensive football player, not interested in getting a chance to play quarterback?

Meet University of Washington LB Mason Foster. It happened during his senior year at Seaside High School in Monterey, California. After a weight-lifting session, his coach sat him down and asked for a favor, a big favor. He needed a QB and he needed Foster – his defensive leader – to take control of the offense as well. “He didn’t want to be our quarterback,” said Al Avila, the Seaside coach. “I told him the team needed him.”

That factor had Foster taking snaps at practice that afternoon and he became Seaside’s quarterback and he led the Spartans offense and defense to the school’s first sectional championship.

At Washington, he returned only to playing linebacker and is now ready to take another step up the football ladder – the NFL Draft.

Here’s his story.

FAMILY AFFAIRS

Mason Foster

Born – March 1, 1989 in Seaside, California.

Family – Parents are Margarette and William, natives of Seaside who moved there with their military fathers when they were stationed at the now closed Army base, Ft. Ord. Dad played football at San Jose State and has long been a youth football coach on the Monterey Peninsula.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 1¼ inches.
  • Weight – 245 pounds.
  • Arm – 31 inches.
  • Hand – 9 5/8 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.75 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.67 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.59 seconds.
  • Bench press – 22 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 31 inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 2 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Foster was a member of the graduating class of 2007 at Seaside High School. He played three seasons on the Spartans varsity for head coach Al Avila.

They went 12-1 and 5-0 in the Monterey Bay League and won the CIF Central Coast Section small school championship in 2006. He shared team MVP honors and was named CIF all-state linebacker.

He was named the Monterey County Player of the Year by the Monterey Herald, defensive player of the year by the Salinas Californian and All-Central Coast first-team LB by the San Jose Mercury-News.

FOOTBALL

2006 – The Spartans beat Pacific Grove 28-14 to win the school’s first section championship. Foster scoring on a 36-yard run, throwing for two other TDs and grabbing an interception. He was 18 of 24 passing for 198 yards, ran 16 times for 84 yards. He had 282 of his team’s 322 offensive yards.

Foster added the quarterback duties midway through the season and the Spartans went 8-0 with him starting at quarterback and won the Monterey Bay League, for the third straight season. On the season, he was 68 of 105 for 951 yards and 12 TDs throwing the ball and he added another 657 yards on 105 carries and 11 TD runs. Defensively, he had 158 total tackles, 8 sacks and 5 INTS, 2 that he returned for TDs. He also had kickoff return TDs of 95 and 97 yards.

2005 – Playing linebacker and fullback, Foster ran for 285 yards on 35 carries while totaling more than 100 tackles on defense. Seaside won the Monterey Bay League title and rolled to the sectional title game, but lost to Half Moon Bay H.S.

2004 – The Spartans won the Monterey Bay League title and made an appearance in the section title game, losing in the last minute. Foster was brought up to the varsity squad near the end of the year and was starting by the time Seaside made the playoffs.

RECRUITING

Although he was quite successful on the field, schools did not exactly knock down his door in the recruiting process. A long with Washington, he had offers from Colorado, Utah and Utah State. He committed to Washington in November 2006.

COLLEGE

Foster was working toward a degree in American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington.

In four seasons playing for the Huskies, he appeared in 50 games with 41 starts. He had 378 total tackles, 10.5 sacks and 4 interceptions.

He was honored three straight years by the Pac-10 Conference, including two years on the first-team defense. In his senior season, Foster received All-America mentions.

2010 – (Captain) Foster started all 13 games – giving him 37 consecutive starts – at OLB. He finished second in the country with 162 total tackles. He was named defensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl, with 12 tackles and a pair of sacks against Nebraska. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player.

2009 – Another 12 starts at OLB for Foster, who finished second on the team with 85 total tackles and leading the conference with six forced fumbles. He was named the conference defensive player of the week for his efforts against Arizona – one interception with a 37-yard return for a TD, 11 tackles, one for a loss.

2008 – He started all 12 games at OLB, and ended up leading the conference in tackles per game with 8.75. Foster had 13 tackles against California and he had nine tackles and a sack against Arizona State. He was named the Huskies team MVP on defense.

2007 – In his freshman season, Foster played in all 13 games, making four starts, with three at weak-side LB and one at middle LB. He was honored with the Husky Fever 12th Man of the Year award.

 Year

 

G

 

S

Tot.

Tkl.

 

TFL

 

Sks.

 

Int.

 

PBU

 

FF

 

RF

2010

13

13

163

14

6.5

0

3

2

2

2009

12

12

85

7.5

2

3

9

6

1

2008

12

12

105

12

1

1

3

0

0

2007

13

4

25

5

1

0

0

0

1

Totals

50

41

378

38.5

10.5

4

15

8

4

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Strong instincts and high football IQ combine to allow Foster to be a very productive player; just check out his tackle numbers over his career; he averaged 7.6 tackles per game that he played. An aggressive demeanor also allows him to get involved in most plays. However he’s good at not getting fooled by misdirection. Good speed and very agile, he’s almost as good laterally as he is going straight ahead.

Weaknesses – Foster gets himself in trouble while in coverage, as he isn’t fast or quick enough to cover backs and tight ends down the field. If he’s going to cover, he needs to play in a zone. He also trusts his instincts so much that knowing offenses can take advantage of how quickly he diagnoses plays and runs to a spot. That can leave him open for cutbacks.

Analysis – Teams will have to decide if they where he’ll play depending on what type of defensive scheme they use. Foster would probably be best suited as an outside LB in the 4-3. A 3-4 defense would probably play him at inside linebacker. If put in the right situation, no matter the scheme, he’ll make plays.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an AFC team said – “I think he’s one of the most underrated players in this year’s class. Nobody talks about him much but when you watch the tape, he’s everywhere. I have him graded as a first-round ILB.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

On why he didn’t want to play quarterback in high school – “I didn’t want it to take away from my defensive game. You have to calm down when playing quarterback.”

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian – “He’s a tremendous football player with a great work ethic. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t played better defense around him, because he is well-deserving of any honor he receives.”

 

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

It’s hard to see where he doesn’t have all the intangibles and attitude that Pioli/Haley seeks. He’s a leader, durable, football smart, dedicated and the game is important to him. Foster would probably be best playing inside next to Derrick Johnson. Should he still be available in the second round, I would think Mason Foster would get serious consideration.


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