D.J. Foster will return for senior year at ASU, forgoes NFL Draft
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State do-it-all junior D.J. Foster announced at a Tuesday press conference that he will return to school for his senior season and put the finishing touches on what’s already been a storybook Sun Devil career.
Sitting next to ASU head coach Todd Graham and his parents, Foster said he put little weight in the projections he received as he considered entering the 2015 NFL Draft. The priority, he said, was playing one more year with a promising senior class that includes his friends and roommates, quarterback Mike Bercovici and defensive back Jordan Simone.
"It’s just something I don’t take for granted, and I want to be part of for as long as I can," Foster said of the college experience.
Foster expects to play in the slot more during his senior season even after rushing for 1,081 yards this year. While he started 2014 as the team’s top option at running back, it became clear the Sun Devils could use him more as a receiver with the emergence of freshmen running backs Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage.
Looking at his NFL future, which he knows will still be there next year, Foster said he anticipates being more attractive to the pros as a slot receiver who can play running back rather than a running back who can play receiver.
"It’s a position I feel is more suitable to me," he said.
In three seasons at ASU, Foster has accumulated 2,077 rushing yards, caught 163 passes for 1,874 yards and scored 28 touchdowns.
Graham will be glad to see one of his best offensive weapons returning, especially with the departure of receiver Jaelen Strong, who declared for the NFL Draft before Arizona State’s 36-31 win against Duke in the Sun Bowl on Saturday.
Foster highlighted Graham’s first recruiting class when he took the ASU job prior to the 2012 season. Graham remembers he had a difficult time gauging Foster’s interest in ASU — USC and Cal were also in the mix. The new head coach nearly got into a car accident when he first heard the news of Foster’s commitment.
"He trusted us when he didn’t even know who we were," Graham said. "It was really the first positive thing (in Graham’s tenure) to choose to be here. I’m excited he’s going to finish it and get his degree."
Foster’s father, Darryl, said his son’s decision was impacted by D.J. thinking about his older sister, who died when Foster was in high school.
“Something in her life that she always wanted for him is to know that there is more than just football and more than just sports,” Darryl said. “So he’s always talked about chapters. He’s going to put the finishing touches on a senior year.”