October 16, 2009 8:49:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
C.J. Foster is delivering on his promise.
Months before the start of his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, Foster said he knew it wasn''t "play time anymore," and that he was focused on making an impact at linebacker.
Foster went on to say he was going to "clock in and clock out" and go to work every day to help the Indians have a successful season.
Even though ICC (2-5) has struggled to put everything together this year, Foster has been a stalwart on defense. The former West Point High School standout is fourth on the team with 39 total tackles and second on the team with six tackles for loss.
Foster will try to help the Indians end the season with a flurry when the play host to No. 10 East Mississippi C.C. at 3 p.m. in Fulton as part of homecoming festivities.
"He has done a great job for us," ICC coach Mark Terrill said. "When the season is over with he won''t be named an all-region performer because he doesn''t have overwhelming stats, but C.J. is a young man every team wants in their program. He comes to work every day. ... He brings to your program glue He is a kid who even though it has been a tough year he has helped keep our team together just because he won''t give up."
Foster, a 6-foot, 195-pounder, moved from SAM linebacker to WILL linebacker this season and has used his versatility to provide run support and to check speedy wide receivers and running backs.
Foster said he hasn''t see much difference between the positions and is focused on doing whatever the coaches ask him to do. He feels he has been a better leader and communicator to his teammates, especially when they aren''t sure what they''re supposed to be doing.
"I have been playing hard every game and trying to get my head into it," Foster said. "I have worked really hard to get things right. So far it has been going well."
Foster said it has been "disturbing" that things haven''t clicked this season for the Indians. Although the team hasn''t been able to gain momentum, Foster said his work ethic has helped him sharpen his ability to read his assignments. He said his athleticism helps him make up for what he might lack in height and weight.
"I think I have played well this year," said Foster, who admitted he doesn''t like to talk about himself. "After watching film I have been able to react to a play instantly. I have done a better job at knowing my responsibilities and performing on the field."
Terrill agrees and said Foster is a "fun young man to coach," and that he wished he had more CJs and his attitude on the team. Despite the team''s struggles, Terrill said it has been pleasing for him to watch Foster work hard and move up the depth chart and to be such a big contributor this season.
"C.J. has worked for everything he has got. He is an overcomer," Terrill said. "He is a young man who no matter what he faced he always has persevered and always did it with a humble and gracious attitude and always gave his best.
"He has developed a real good mind and an understanding of the game, which is a real key in helping us make our defense make adjustments and get us into the right coverages to make a play."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.