Reuben Foster

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Reuben Foster
No. 56 – San Francisco 49ers
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1994-04-04) April 4, 1994 (age 24)
Roanoke, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 228 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school: Auburn (AL)
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 31
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2017
Total tackles: 72
Sacks: 0.0
Forced fumbles: 0
Fumble recoveries: 0
Interceptions: 0
Player stats at

Reuben Foster (born April 4, 1994) is an American football linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama, and was drafted by the 49ers in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. A consensus High School All-American, Foster was regarded as the No. 1 inside linebacker prospect of his class.[1][2][3] He was named the Butkus Award winner, given to the nation's best linebacker, at the end of the 2016 college football season.[4]

High school career[edit]

A native of Roanoke, Alabama, Foster moved across the border to LaGrange, Georgia, after sixth grade.[5] He attended Troup County High School, where he played high school football and was teammates with Quan Bray and J. C. Copeland. During his freshman year in a game against Columbus (GA) Carver, Foster had a heralded performance against blue chip running back Isaiah Crowell. "That was my coming out party. That's when they started calling me 'freakish freshman'", said Foster.[6] He completed his freshman season with 110 tackles, and added 112 as a sophomore.[7]

Foster finished his junior season at Troup County High School with 185 tackles, including 34 tackles for loss and 18 sacks. In February 2012, Troup County headcoach Charles Flowers was dismissed, allegedly due to a rumor that he paid a football player to move from Lanett, Alabama, to West Point, Georgia, in order to play for Troup.[8] Immediately afterwards, Foster announced his intention to transfer to another high school for his senior season.[9]

Foster eventually moved back to Alabama and enrolled at Auburn High School in April 2012,[10] where he became teammates with Rashaan Evans. Along with the transfer came a switch in commitment from Alabama to Auburn, which triggered an NCAA investigation.[11]

In his senior year at Auburn High, Foster recorded 80 tackles (70 solo) and two sacks, helping the Tigers advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs. Auburn High School lost 7–8 in a grueling, defensive battle to rival Opelika High School at Duck Samford Stadium.[12] Foster participated in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, finishing with six tackles and 2.5 for loss, earning Defensive MVP honors.[13]


Regarded as a four-star recruit by ESPN, Foster was listed as the No. 1 inside linebacker of his class.[15] Chris Yeager, who coached the Alabama All-Stars in the 2012 Alabama-Mississippi Classic, compared Foster to Cornelius Bennett.[16]

Since his sophomore year, Foster was recruited by a number of SEC schools. In July 2011, Foster verbally committed to Alabama,[17] citing the NFL pedigree of headcoach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as the decisive factor. However, Foster was not firm on his commitment, so other schools continued to recruit him.[18] After transferring to Auburn High School prior to his senior year, Foster decided to de-commit from Alabama, and switched to Auburn University. "At the end of the day, I feel like Auburn University is the place for me and my family. I am 100 percent confident with my final decision", said Foster.[19] He went so far to have the Auburn University emblem tattooed on his right arm.[20]

Foster's commitment to the Tigers, however, only lasted until December 2012, when Auburn dismissed head coach Gene Chizik, and assistant coach Trooper Taylor, to whom Foster had developed a personal relationship.[21] Foster went through January looking at different schools, including Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington, Miami (FL), and LSU,[22] with Georgia believed to be the favorite.[23] On National Signing Day, however, Foster re-committed to Alabama.[24]

College career[edit]

Foster debuted as a true freshman for Alabama in the season-opener against Virginia Tech, registering one assisted tackle. He appeared in a total of nine games over the season, registering 12 tackles (four solo), including one tackle for a loss of yardage. Competing to fill the vacancy at inside linebacker left by Butkus Award winner C. J. Mosley, Foster was injured during spring practice on April 5, 2014.[25]

The starting linebacker job eventually went to Reggie Ragland, but Foster still played in 11 games and had the third-most special teams tackles on the team with eight. He made his first career start at the middle linebacker position against West Virginia, compiling seven total tackles with two solo stops and a tackle for loss (−2 yards). Foster finished his sophomore season with 22 tackles including 11 solo stops, two tackles for loss (−5 yards) and one sack (−3 yards, against Texas A&M).[citation needed]

In his junior year, Foster took over as starting inside linebacker from Trey DePriest, and finished second on the team with 73 total tackles, eight for a loss (−24 yards), on the season. He also registered two sacks (−7 yards), three quarterback hurries, and nine pass breakups. Returning for his senior season, he was widely regarded as one of the best linebackers in college football. Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Sporting News, and numerous other outlets named him a midseason All-American. After the season, he was awarded the Butkus Award, given to the nation's best linebacker. As a senior in 2016, Foster finished with 115 tackles, 13 for losses, and five sacks.[26]

Professional career[edit]

On January 18, 2017, it was reported that Foster and Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen declined their invitations to play in the 2017 Senior Bowl.[27] On February 13, 2017, it was revealed that Foster underwent surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff.[28] Foster was one of 19 collegiate linebackers to attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, but was unfortunately sent home after getting into a heated argument with a student hospital worker while receiving his medical examination at the combine. Foster objected to the way he was being treated and was sent home before being able to meet with team representatives from any NFL teams.[29][30][31] During the combine, it was announced that Foster had failed a drug test. On March 8, 2017, Foster attended Alabama's pro day and set scheduled private meetings with NFL teams to discuss the incident that took place at the combine.[32] On April 20, 2017, it was revealed that Foster's urine sample was reported as dilute, which is treated like a positive test.[31][33] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Foster was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the top inside linebacker prospect in the draft by, was ranked the top linebacker by NFL analysts Mike Mayock and Gil Brandt, and was ranked the second best linebacker (behind Temple's Haason Reddick) by ESPN.[34][35][36][37]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad
6 ft 0 in
(1.83 m)
229 lb
(104 kg)
32 38 in
(0.82 m)
10 14 in
(0.26 m)
All values from NFL Combine[38][39]

The San Francisco 49ers selected Foster in the first round (31st overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was the third inside linebacker, behind Haason Reddick and Jarrad Davis, and the fifth linebacker selected in 2017.[40] Foster was also the first of two linebackers drafted by the 49ers in 2017, along with Pita Taumoepenu. On June 9, 2017, the 49ers signed Foster to a four-year, $9.03 million contract with $6.87 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $4.71 million.[41]

He joined a revamped linebacker corp that consisted of NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Elvis Dumervil, and Malcolm Smith. Foster was slated to backup newly acquired free agent Malcolm Smith, but was named the starting right outside linebacker after Smith suffered a torn pectoral during training camp.[42]

He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the San Francisco 49ers' season-opener against the Carolina Panthers and recorded three solo tackles and deflected a pass during their 23-3 loss. Unfortunately, he left the game after suffering an apparent ankle injury. He suffered the injury in the first quarter while pursuing Christian McCaffrey and was inactive for the next five games (Weeks 2-6).[43] Foster's first career tackle came on the first drive after he tackled McCaffrey on a seven-yard reception.[44] He returned in Week 7 and was named the starting middle linebacker after the 49ers released the veteran NaVorro Bowman. Foster finished the 49ers' 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys with five combined tackles, but left in the third quarter after suffering a rib injury.[45] On November 5, 2017, Foster recorded a season-high 14 combined tackles in the 20–10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.[46] He finished his rookie season with 72 combined tackles (59 solo) and a pass deflection in ten games and ten starts.[47] Pro Football Focus gave Foster an overall grade of 90.7 for 2017. His overall grade ranked first among all rookie linebackers and fourth amongst all linebackers.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Foster was born to Inita Berry Paige and Danny Foster. They were estranged in November 1995 when Foster shot Paige, who was holding 18-month-old Reuben Foster, in the back.[49] Danny Foster was indicted by a grand jury in 1996 but fled the state before being arrested in California. He was extradited to Randolph County but escaped from jail in December 1996. He took on a new identity in Miami, Florida, but was arrested after spending 16 years on the run and will again be extradited to Randolph County, Alabama.[50][51]

Foster has a daughter, A‘Zyia (born 2009), with the younger sister of former Auburn linebacker Tray Blackmon.[52][53]

In April 2016, Foster was present (although not involved) during a shooting that left three dead outside a nightclub in Auburn, Alabama.[54]

Legal issues[edit]

On January 13, 2018, it was announced Foster had been arrested in Alabama by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office for possession of marijuana.[55] He was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

On February 11, 2018, Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, threats, and assault weapon possession charges.[56] On April 12, he was charged with felony counts of multiple domestic violence, possession of a weapon, and infliction of bodily harm.[57]


  1. ^ Composite Rankings ILB 2013,; accessed July 13, 2017.
  2. ^ ILB 2013 Ranking,; accessed July 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "Recruiting Football Team News, Scout". 
  4. ^ Chase Goodbread (December 5, 2016). "Reuben Foster wins Butkus Award as nation's top linebacker". 
  5. ^ "Five-star Reuben Foster glad to be back". ESPN. September 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Ostendorf, Greg (October 5, 2012). "No. 2 ESPN 150 prospect and Auburn commit Reuben Foster accepts Under Armour All-America Game jersey". 
  7. ^ Newberg, Jamie (May 24, 2011). "Reuben Foster creating a buzz". 
  8. ^ "Flowers fired as Troup County football coach". WTVM. February 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Alabama LB recruit to transfer after coach's firing". February 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ Scalici, Matt. "Elite Tide commitment Reuben Foster transferring to Auburn High School". 
  11. ^ "Recruitment of Auburn pledge Reuben Foster under investigation". USA Today. August 13, 2012. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Opelika rallies late to top Auburn, advances to semifinals". Opelika-Auburn News. November 24, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Foster earns defensive MVP honors in All-America Game". Opelika-Auburn News. January 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Not Found". 
  15. ^ "ESPN Football Recruiting - Player Rankings - ESPN". 
  16. ^ Sentell, Jeff (December 19, 2012). "Better than advertised? Auburn High's Reuben Foster hits that mark and everything else". 
  17. ^ Carvell, Michael (July 18, 2011). "LB Reuben Foster commits to Alabama over UGA". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  18. ^ Carvell, Michael (December 30, 2011). "Reuben Foster is committed to Alabama but still flirting with UGA". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  19. ^ Scarborough, Alex (July 12, 2012). "Top recruit Reuben Foster switches from Alabama Crimson Tide to Auburn Tigers". ESPN. 
  20. ^ "The winding road to Bama". ESPN. May 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ Scalici, Matt (December 7, 2012). "Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster decommits from Auburn, considering Alabama again". 
  22. ^ Galloway, Jason (December 27, 2012). "Auburn High's Foster named Defensive Player of the Year". Opelika-Auburn News. 
  23. ^ " - Mind of Mike: No predicting the unpredictable". 9 January 2013. 
  24. ^ Reuben Foster commits to Alabama Crimson Tide despite Auburn Tigers tattoo,; accessed July 13, 2017.
  25. ^ "Alabama cornerback Eddie Jackson, linebacker Reuben Foster injured at spring scrimmage". April 5, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Reuben Foster 2016 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  27. ^ Luke Easterling (January 18, 2017). "Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster decline Senior Bowl invites". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  28. ^ Chase Goodbread. "Report: Reuben Foster had surgery, will miss NFL combine drills". NFL. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Reuben Foster's combine incident: Will this affect his draft stock?". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Report: Reuben Foster sent home from Scouting Combine". Associated Press. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  31. ^ a b "Some Players Slide, Some Surge in Opening Round of Draft". 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  32. ^ "Patrick Willis | Mississippi, ILB : 2007 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". NFL Draft Scout. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  33. ^ Rapoport, Ian. "Alabama LB Reuben Foster had positive drug test at combine". NFL. Retrieved April 20, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Reuben Foster, DS #1 ILB, Alabama". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  35. ^ Mike Mayock (April 12, 2017). "Mike Mayock's 2017 NFL Draft position rankings 3.0". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  36. ^ Gil Brandt (April 17, 2017). "Hot 150: Gil Brandt's top-ranked prospects for 2017 NFL Draft". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  37. ^ Jeff Legwold (April 22, 2017). "Ranking 2017 draft's top 100 players". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  38. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Reuben Foster". 
  39. ^ "Reuben Foster - Alabama, ILB : 2017 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". 
  40. ^ Sessler, Marc. "Niners trade to No. 31, select Alabama's Reuben Foster". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  41. ^ " Reuben Foster". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  42. ^ Nicholas McGee (August 7, 2017). "San Francisco 49ers: Unleash Reuben Foster after Malcolm Smith injury". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  43. ^ Nick Wagoner (September 10, 2017). "X-rays negative for 49ers rookie LB Reuben Foster's ankle injury". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  44. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 1-2017: Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  45. ^ Mark Inabinnett (November 4, 2017). "Reuben Foster has been 'very unlucky,' not injury-prone, 49ers coordinator says". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  46. ^ "Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers - November 5th, 2017". Retrieved November 7, 2017. 
  47. ^ "NFL Player stats: Reuben Foster (2017)". Retrieved December 23, 2017. 
  48. ^ "Pro Football Focus: Reuben Foster". Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  49. ^ "Local fugitive captured in Miami after 16 years". Randolph Leader. February 8, 2013. 
  50. ^ Father of Alabama signee arrested after 16 years on run Archived 2013-04-02 at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed July 13, 2017.
  51. ^ Arrested fugitive is Alabama football signee Reuben Foster's father,; accessed July 13, 2017.
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Family decision for LB Reuben Foster". 14 December 2012. 
  54. ^ "Reuben Foster present during triple homicide, but was not involved, Auburn police say". April 29, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Reuben Foster arrested for possession of marijuana". January 13, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  56. ^ "Reuben Foster arrested on domestic violence, threat charges". February 11, 2018. 
  57. ^ "Reuben Foster charged with felony domestic violence". NFL. Retrieved April 12, 2018. 

External links[edit]