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Will D.J. Foster Be In The 2014 Heisman Discussion?

by wboor
Mar 26, 2014 1:41 PM EDT



Prior to the 2013 season, ASU running back D.J. Foster admitted his goal was to win the Heisman Trophy.

While that may have sounded crazy at the time, perhaps the only thing outlandish about the lofty challenge was that it came a year too early. Foster was a vital piece of ASU's offense in both 2012 and 2013, but 2014 will be his year. Not only will Foster have his best statistical season in 2014, but he will also have a big impact on the offense as reports have stated that he is also trying to become more of a vocal leader.

Foster took a bit of a backseat last season as Marion Grice rushed for 996 yards and 14 touchdowns, but when Grice suffered a leg fracture late in the year, Foster delivered. In ASU's final three games — Arizona, Stanford and Texas Tech — Foster rushed for 318 yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries.

Prior to Grice's injury, Foster spent time as a “playmaker.” The Arizona native took some carries out of the backfield, but also lined up at receiver from time to time. In essence, Foster was ASU's version of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas.

Thomas was supposed to become the Ducks' every-down back in 2013, but his lack of size ultimately prevented that from happening. At ASU, Foster won't have that problem.

Not only did Foster more than prove his ability to produce as an every-down back in the final games of 2013, but the back — currently listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds — added some muscle to his frame over the offseason, according to reports.

In his first two seasons, Foster rushed for 994 yards and eight touchdowns, so his agility and speed likely won't surprise anyone in Tempe, but those across the nation likely will know his name as the season gets rolling.

As a third-year player, Foster's expanded knowledge of ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell's system will help him produce on the field, but that won't be the only reason for his breakout season. Foster's size, as previously mentioned, will give him more touches and his versatility will allow Norvell to get creative.

In his first two seasons at ASU, Foster caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns and demonstrated that he has above average hands for a running back.

Foster's ability to make game-changing plays as both a running back and receiver not only will help ASU's offense, but may also put him in the Heisman discussion he was hoping to be in a season ago.