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Just before the Atlanta regional event for Nike’s “The Opening” recruiting camp on Sunday, 3-star Tennessee QB target James Foster got a phone call from Vols’ head coach Butch Jones.
“He was like, ‘Wear the Tennessee towel at ‘The Opening’ today and rip it,'” Foster told SEC Country.
Foster followed Jones’ advice and wore the Tennessee towel on his hip throughout the passing drills that encompassed most of the afternoon. But while Foster was “feeling like a Vol” on Sunday, Tennessee stands firm in third place on his list of eight schools that he dropped at the end of February.
Currently, Tennessee sits behind Missouri and Georgia but ahead of South Carolina, Louisville, Southern Miss, Mississippi State and N.C. State. While Vols fans might be feeling good that they can at least jump over Georgia, a school that utilizes a pro-style quarterback, it isn’t that simple. Foster said that Georgia coach Kirby Smart has told him that he “needs” a running quarterback.
“The quarterbacks they’ve got on the roster now really pocket passers,” Foster said. “They need a quarterback that can run. They’re trying to change the tradition and stuff because when the pocket breaks down they can’t run.”
If Tennessee really wants to make a move on Foster, it’ll have to come through his mother.
“Really just get a better bond with my mom,” Foster said. “That’ll probably happen when I go up there on a visit.”
That’s really the missing link in the relationship. New Tennessee quarterbacks coach Mike Canales has been in touch with Foster “every day” lately and he plans on making another visit to Knoxville sometime in April, “probably” for the Orange and White game on April 22, although nothing is set in stone of yet.
Foster has already been to campus once. Last season, he came to Knoxville to watch Tennessee play Alabama and he left blown away by the atmosphere.
“The fan base is crazy,” Foster said. “They pack it out with orange, all orange. I love it up there though.”
The Opening may have provided an extra opportunity for Foster to hear some positives about Tennessee from another source — Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor. Taylor worked out with both defensive backs and receivers and caught some passes from Foster. Foster included Taylor as one of his favorite receivers to work with at the entire camp, along with fellow Alabama product Justyn Ross.
Taylor has had a relationship with Foster for a while now and hasn’t been shy about trying to bring him to Knoxville, too.
“He’s trying to get me to come,” Foster said. “He be all in my DM’s telling to come on and make that move.”
“Me, him and Emory [Jones, Ohio State commit] back at the underclassman challenge,” Taylor said. “He always talked about Tennessee and stuff. I talked to him. Whenever we can connect with each other it’s a good feeling because receivers want to play with good quarterbacks. I ain’t going to say he’s a good quarterback, he’s a great quarterback, him and Emory. It had a good feeling with it. Felt like we was already teammates.”
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