In a little more than a week, Taylor sophomore offensive tackle Bryce Foster will line up during his team’s season opener, ready to blister whichever Atascocita defensive lineman stands in his way.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Foster’s profile has grown exponentially following an eye-opening freshman campaign, receiving 14 collegiate offers from recruiters hungry for him to wear their colors.
It’s what he recently accomplished off the gridiron, however, that opened more eyes.
Foster broke an 18-year-old AAU Junior Olympic Games record in late July when he threw 64’ 00.50” in the shot put, six feet better than his previous personal record.
“It feels unreal,” Foster recently told VYPE. “Every day I wake up and I watch video from it and I’m just like, ‘Wow. I really did that.’ Insane.”
Aside from the record, Foster also placed first in the discus in the Games.
“My confidence is very high right now,” Foster said.
The Montgomery, Texas, native took up track and field around the third grade. During middle school, he kept with it so that he had something to keep him active after the football season.
Foster does not have a favorite between the shot put or discus, but thinks he’s better at the shot put.
“They’re really different,” he said. “With shot, you have to stay tense through it; it’s kind of like maxing out in weight-lifting. You have to stay tense and tight throughout before letting all your energy out through the ball. Discus is a speed and footwork thing, and at the end you use a lot of your muscle.”
Foster wants to follow in the footsteps of former Taylor teammate Otito Ogbonnia.
Ogbonnia won the shot put and discus events at the Class 6A state meet in Austin last spring after starring as a defensive lineman for the Mustangs in the fall. Ogbonnia eventually earned a full ride to UCLA, where he will play football and participate in field events, and set a path for his young protégé.
“I’m really looking to do both (football and track and field),” Foster said. “I love the shot put, discus and football equally. If a college only wants me to do one, they’ll still have a chance, but I really do prefer to go to a college where I can do both (track and field and football).”
Foster is making sure he does everything he can to earn that opportunity.
Last year, he started hitting the weights hard. After team strength and conditioning camps, Foster would go out to the field and work on his steps as a thrower.
Often times, he’d return at night after dinner to repeat the same work.
“That improved my technique drastically,” Foster said.
Foster said he learned the importance of working in the weight room and improving the technical aspects of his craft day in and day out.
Foster, who said shot put and discus correlate to football because of the hand-eye coordination, would get chalk and go out to his front yard or driveway, measuring dimensions of the shot put and discus arenas, and practice his steps whenever he was off campus.
He worked and worked and worked until he always got it right.
It also helped having someone like Ogbonnia to chase.
“What I really took away from last year was just being around Otito every day,” Foster said. “He was much better than I was and he threw very well. Distance-wise and technique-wise, he was the best. Having him there one year proved to me that I couldn’t just come on and be the best.”
Come December, after what the football Mustangs hope is a long postseason run, Foster will turn his attention again to track and field. He was a regional finalist in each event last season.
“What I learned is never get too comfortable,” Foster said. “I walked in too confident, and I didn’t walk in with the adrenaline, nervousness and anxiousness that I had when I was competing at the Junior Olympics.”