Kennesaw State returner Isaac Foster during a 2018 football game.
Photo: KSU Athletics/Kyle Hess
Photo: KSU Athletics/Kyle Hess

Kennesaw State return man Isaac Foster sees benefit of redshirt season

Redshirt freshman Isaac Foster looked like a lightning bolt as he returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown Saturday in his yellow-and-black Kennesaw State uniform during the Owls’ home opener against Alabama State. After the game, Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon was still grinning thinking about Foster’s speed.

“He looked faster today than I even thought he was,” Bohannon said Saturday. “He took off.”

Two days after the Owls 63-13 win when everyone learned the freshman’s name, Foster was named Big South Special Teams Player of the Week for recording the first kickoff return for a touchdown in program history and two 33-yard punt returns.

The Owls (2-0) return to action at 6 p.m. Saturday when they face Clark Atlanta at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

In addition to the conference recognition, Foster has also received congratulatory messages from impressed teammates, coaches and friends back home in Summerville — messages he’s waited over a year to hear.

After graduating in 2017 from Chattooga High School, where he finished his career at quarterback with the school’s all-time scoring record of 366 points, Foster was redshirted as a freshman. Coaches at Kennesaw State didn’t think he was quite ready to compete on the collegiate level at his new position of running back.

Rather than dwell in the disappointment, Foster dedicated the year to learning his new position from fellow running backs Darnell Holland — who’s been a mentor to Foster — and Shaq Terry.

“I think everybody wants to come in right away and play, but I think I was pretty mature about it. ... My parents have raised me to be very patient young man, and I think that definitely helped, just being patient and waiting for my time to come,” Foster said.

Bohannon gushed Tuesday about Foster’s preparedness and effort in practice over the past year, saying he’s not surprised by Foster’s success. Considering his attention to detail in practice, Bohannon said, it was only a matter of time until Foster made some plays.

“He’s humble, and he’s hungry. … You wouldn’t have known he’d done what he did (Saturday) in practice yesterday,” Bohannon said Tuesday. “You won’t know it today because he’s going to go out the same way and prepare himself to have a good game. I think it’s his personality. I hope it’s contagious, infectious because it’s a great way to go about your business.”

Foster was able to skillfully navigate down the field Saturday not just because of his speed and focus in practice, but because coaches emphasized attention to assignments on special teams leading to the Alabama State game.

Because special-teams players have seen Foster’s speed during returns, Bohannon said he hopes his players will realize if they continue to execute their assignments, Foster will continue to make plays.

Bohannon revealed Tuesday that coaches like what Foster does when he touches the ball, so Foster should expect more consistent reps as the season progresses.

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