TEMPE, Ariz. — D.J. Foster’s resume is impressive enough to consider his impact on the Arizona State football program strictly through numbers.
With only the Cactus Bowl remaining in the senior’s college career, Foster is one of five players in NCAA history to reach 2,000 rushing and 2,000 receiving yards. With 49 more rushing yards, he’ll become the only Division I player ever to reach 2,400 rushing and receiving.
With 217 catches, Foster ranks second on the school’s all-time career receptions list, trailing only Derek Hagan’s 258 (his 2,418 career receiving yards currently rank sixth).
Foster has caught a pass in 52 consecutive games, or every college game in which he’s played. That’s a Pac-12 record and currently the longest active streak in the nation.
“You can’t begin to measure what D.J. Foster has meant to this program,” Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said. “And I’m not just talking about what he’s done on the field. I’m talking the bigger picture.”
For Graham, Foster’s impact is measured as much by the impact he made on local recruiting. The Scottsdale Saguaro product was a highly sought recruit after a standout prep career. In a story that has been well chronicled, Foster was at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, about to take his official visit to California when Graham, who was beginning his first season, talked to Foster for the first time and eventually convinced him to stay home.
Graham has always stressed the importance of keeping the state’s top recruits at ASU, and while a couple notable players got away in the past couple years (Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and soon-to-be transferring Kyle Allen), Foster’s decision had an impact on others like recent commitment Byron Murphy (Scottsdale Saguaro) and current freshman QB Bryce Perkins, who attended nearby Chandler High School.
“You see all this ‘Hometown Hero’ stuff and people having pride to stay at home. D.J. is the pioneer for that,” ASU senior quarterback Mike Bercovici said. “When you talk about the Coach Graham era, he’s the Tom Brady of ASU.
“He’s really someone that’s going to be remembered here forever as the Sun Devil that ignited this place to become what it’s going to be.”
Whenever talk has turned to Foster’s impact on the program’s recruiting, he had deflected it — almost sounding embarrassed to talk about it.
“When I got that Hometown Hero title I thought it was kind of corny at the time. I thought people were making too big a deal out of it,” Foster said. “But I’ve learned to understand the meaning of it. It’s not just about me.
“It’s about understanding the great program we have here and can build here, just down the street. It’s about staying home and having the chance to play in front of your family and friends, which a lot of people don’t get the chance to do.”
Foster has represented the program as well off the field as he has on it. He has a spotless track record, he’s accessible and articulate with the media and he takes the time to participate in community events the program organizes.
“He’s exactly the type of young man you want to build your program around,” Graham said.
Foster plans to continue that relationship even after he graduates.
“I know this program will still speak for itself in years to come and in wins after I have left, but I want others to know that they can have that same experience at ASU,” Foster said. “I’ve enjoyed every second of my time here. I hope I’m still a part of this program and I’m able to help it out for the rest of my life.”