It's been an eventful nine months for D.J. Foster.
On January 27th, the former Saguaro High School star made a tough decision to sign with Arizona State over Cal and USC. The choice to stay home was heralded, but also brought with it the "hometown hero" pressure.
However, Foster has delivered
During fall camp, he quickly established himself as a potent weapon, but since the season started, he has taken it to a new level. Foster has proven to be ASU's best and most versatile offense weapon. He leads the team with 371 yards and is second on the team with 29 receptions for 454 yards, to go along with six total touchdowns.
We caught up with the freshman phenom to get his thoughts on his debut season, where the team is at after two tough losses and how they can turn it around going forward.
House of Sparky: What is the mindset of this team right now after two straight losses?
D.J. Foster: Must win. We know we're getting close to the last stretch of the season. We gotta win. We're still competing. We still have an opportunity to compete for the South. We just have to come out to win this game.
HoS: How would evaluate the first eight games of your college career?
DF: Good. I think I still have a lot more to improve upon to become an overall better player. A lot of stuff people don't see during practice that I work on. As an overall player, I have a lot more I have to improve upon.
HoS: As a true freshman, you often times made big plays look easy. How does the level of play of FBS-level college football measure up to what your expectations were coming in to ASU?
DF: It blew it way out of the water. It's definitely a lot of hard work, a lot of time and effort put into it. You gotta love it, and I'm enjoying the process so it's fun.
HoS: What areas are you most pleased with your performance? On the flip side, what areas do you feel you need the most work?
DF: The most exciting part is just getting the opportunity. They're using me at running back and receiver. You have a lot of weapons out here with Marion and Cam, so it's just getting to be in the slot and in the backfield. Also knowing my blocking, being a complete running back as well.
HoS: The end result was obviously bad, but the offense had a great day against UCLA. How would evaluate the job the offense did?
DF: Overall, we beat ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes that came down to it. Offensively, I think we played pretty good, but we made too many mistakes.
HoS: There have been a lot of new faces on the offensive side of the ball this year, including your quarterback. What is your evaluation of how Taylor Kelly has grown into the position?
DF: He's doing great. He's definitely our leader on and off the field. When it comes down to it, just like he did in the last game, he finds a way to make it happen. He just doesn't give up, and it's good to know that your quarterback, your leader, has that mentality.
HoS: Due to the success that you and Marion have had, Cameron Marshall has seemingly dropped to the third-option in the backfield. How is the coaching staff working to make sure all three of you are contributors?
DF: We all work hard in practice. It doesn't matter who is getting the ball, we all support each other. Whether it's me, Marion or Cam, we all have each other's backs. We're just one unit and taking it day-by-day.
HoS: Lately, it seems as if you and Marion are the team's top receivers as well. How has that success in the passing game impacted the offensive game plan?
DF: A lot. It definitely makes our offense more dynamic, and we can move guys around. It helps us get more looks and makes the defense think on their toes a little more.
HoS: During his press conference, Coach Graham praised your leadership ability. Is that something you have set out to do, or does it just come naturally?
DF: A little bit of both. I'm just getting more comfortable. Coming in, I sat back more quiet, just observing. I'm definitely getting more comfortable around the guys and playing more. I'm just taking it day-by-day and trying to lead by example.
HoS: How do your teammates respond to seeing a true freshman in a leadership role?
DF: It's OK. I just try to do my own thing. I just try to lead by example. I'm not out here yelling at anyone or anything. I'm just trying to work hard and do the best that I can.
HoS: What are the most important things that the offense has been working on in practice this week?
DF: For me, just knowing my routes. I've got a lot more routes, so knowing them. Blocking schemes as well.
HoS: Oregon State has the fifth-ranked run D in the nation. What is the key going to be to succeed on the ground?
DF: Protect the ball. One-hundred percent ball security and just run hard.