Arian Foster #29 RB
Height: 6-1 Weight: 227 Age: 30
Born: 8/24/1986 Albuquerque , NM
Experience: 8th season
High School: Valley HS [Albuquerque, NM]
With the National Football League putting a greater emphasis on depth at the tailback position, the Foster's unselfishness has been duly noted by the league's general managers, but he needs to prove that he is durable enough to handle the pounding he is expected to receive at the next level.
Foster overcame 2006 health issues to re-establish himself as one of college football's most dangerous all-around backs as a junior. The Southeastern Conference active career leader in three separate offensive statistical categories, the Vols tailback had 650 carries, 2,964 net rushing yards and 3,880 all-purpose yards.
Foster ranks second in Tennessee history with 2,394 yards rushing and became the Vols' all-time leader with 650 rushing attempts. His 3,880 all-purpose yards are the third-highest career total in school annals.
At Mission Bay High School, Foster was the San Diego Union-Tribune's All-San Diego Western League Player of the Year Award and was named All-West Region by Prep Star. He added All-California Interscholastic Federation honors, as he led the nation's prep ranks with 2,500 all-purpose yards, racking up 2,093 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns while adding six scores on kickoff returns as senior in 2003. He also lettered in track and basketball.
In 2004, Foster enrolled at Tennessee, spending the season performing on the scout team. He played behind Gerald Riggs Jr. during the first part of the 2005 season, but when Riggs was injured, Foster stepped into the lineup, running for more than 100 yards in each of his five starts. His 879 yards on the ground rank fifth on the school single-season record list for freshmen, carrying 183 times and scoring five times on the ground.
The Freshman All-American second-team pick also caught 14 passes for 148 yards (10.6 avg), returned two kickoffs for 37 yards and generated 1,064 all-purpose yards that year. More that 25 percent of his carries produced first downs (46 of 183), as he converted 14 of 24 third-down snaps and added five more first downs receiving. What made these figures even more impressive was that Foster played with a torn meniscus in his left knee and a shoulder injury that required surgery after the season.
The 2006 season saw Foster limited to four starts in 11 games. He was hampered by a nagging ankle injury vs. Air Force that he tried to play with the following week vs. Florida before the coaches shut him down for two games. He ranked third on the team with 322 yards and five touchdowns on 91 attempts (3.5 avg). He grabbed 11 passes for 88 yards (8.0 avg) and returned two kickoffs for 20 yards.
Foster garnered All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors in 2007. He played with a left knee injury that required surgery after the season, but still piled up 1,193 yards on 245 chances with 12 touchdowns. His 1,650 all-purpose yards rank second on the school single-season record list, as he tallied 340 yards with a pair of scores on 39 catches (8.7 avg) and 117 yards on three kickoff returns.
Limited in 2008 spring camp while recovering from his knee surgery, Foster sported a new look in 2008, changing to jersey No. 30 from the No. 27 he wore upon arriving at Tennessee. He decided to change his jersey as a way of honoring injured teammate David Holbert, the team's senior fullback who missed his second straight season in 2008 because of separate knee injuries.
What was supposed to be Tennessee's challenge for the national title turned into a long, trying season for Foster and teammates. The tailback played in 11 games, missing the Wyoming contest with a deep thigh bruise. He was plagued by fumbles and inconsistent blocking up front, scoring just once on 131 carries for 570 yards (4.4 avg). He also saw his reception total reduced from 39 in 2007 to 19 in 2008, gaining 166 yards (8.7 avg).
Talking about his long final campaign and looking back at his decision to return to school when most thought he would declare for the 2008 NFL Draft, Foster noted, "It's human to second-guess yourself, but it doesn't get you anywhere," Foster said. "I've done it. Of course I have. I probably would have done it if I'd left anyway. But you just got to stick by your decision. You're a man, and you made a decision and you have to live with it."