PHOENIX — Consider the Valley activated! First-year head coach Kenny Dillingham added 43 new players as part of Arizona State’s 2023 signing class. Several incoming players are Arizona high school football products who are either coming home or staying home. But it's not just players we're talking about. Saguaro High School and ASU alum, DJ Foster, has joined Dillingham’s staff as Sun Devil football’s manager of player development.
“I didn't know if even I would be back here. Seeing how it kind of unfolded, Coach Dillingham getting his position and reaching out to him, I wanted to get back into coaching,” Foster said. “I didn't know how it would look. But being in the player development side of operations, it’s been amazing so far. Being here and being a resource for these guys every day -- whether it's academics, workouts, life skills, community outreach -- That's stuff that's so important to me.”
ASU’s new tight ends coach, Jason Mohns, has known Foster since he was a teenager growing up in Scottsdale. Mohns was Foster’s freshman football coach, running backs coach and offensive coordinator during their time with the Sabercats.
“He represents everything that we want to build a foundation this program on: the best players in this state choosing to stay home because you don't need to leave to fulfill your dreams on playing on Sundays, which he did,” Mohns said of Foster. “He won a Super Bowl with the Patriots and now life after football… He's doing it in a place he wants to be at the Division I level.”
Dillingham, Mohns, and Foster are all ASU alums who came back to their old stomping grounds ahead of the 2023-2024 season. Foster was an All-American at Saguaro before playing at ASU from 2012-2015, where he recorded more than 4,800 total yards and 28 touchdowns. After college, Foster played for the Arizona Cardinals and won a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots.
After a stint in the Canadian Football League, Foster returned home where he worked a sideline reporter for Arizona high school football games on Yurview. Foster’s Valley football legacy is rich, and Dillingham said his players recognize and respect that.
“He's the proof that if you come here, you will be a legend. And it's funny because every kid walks in here they go ‘oh my gosh, that's DJ Foster!’” Dillingham said. “The fact that you came in here and see DJ Foster and you feel some sort of way about DJ Foster is exactly how people can feel about you.”
Sun Devil fans will get their first look at the team at the annual Spring Game happening at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, April 15, right after Pat's Run. The Sun Devils begin their regular season on Aug. 31 at home against Southern Utah.
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