Foster’s first impression resonates with Guelph
The Guelph Gryphons football team had a spectacular introduction to West Niagara running back Tyler Foster.
Offensive coordinator Mark Surya was on hand last Sept. 29 when the latest recruit for the Ontario University Athletics football club rushed for three touchdowns and 284 yards on 22 carries in a 36-31 loss to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs.
“Watching him, he was the main force behind the offence,” Surya said. “I saw him play again and I thought that this is a guy that we need in the program.”
He likes most everything about Foster.
“He is a big, physical back and he was obviously very productive this year for West Niagara,” he said. “I think he is going to come in and contribute right away on special teams. He brings that right level of physicality and intelligence to the position.”
Surya feels the future is bright for Foster.
“He has all the raw materials we are looking for and I expect him to do great things in Year 2 and Year 3 where he can be almost what he was here.”
Guelph’s gain will be West Niagara’s loss.
“We didn’t even have a running back and he shows up and it was who is this guy? Six games later, he had almost 1,000 yards rushing,” West Niagara head coach Zach Silverthorne said. “We were probably the best 2-4 team in the province and if he would have came last year and we had had two years of him, oh wow.”
Tyler’s twin brother, Connor, who was the team’s starting defensive end and a dominant player for Wolfpack, helped push his brother towards trying out.
“We watched him (Tyler) play basketball and we could see he was a multi-sport guy,” Silverthorne said. “We thought he could maybe play slot because he was a hard shoulders, down to the ground runner. We found a diamond in the rough.”
Growing up in Texas, the 18-year-old Grimsby resident started playing football in Grade 5 and spent his whole career as an undersized offensive lineman.
All that changed when the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder joined the Grimsby football team last fall.
“It was my introduction to running back and it was a great first year,” he said.
Foster made a welcome return to the sport after sitting out for a few years.
“I lost the feel for football when I was in Grade 9 when I was playing offensive lineman. I wasn’t having any fun so I didn’t do it in the 11th grade. But I had a bunch of friends convince me to do it so I started back in Grade 12.”
Foster was thinking about trying out for wide receiver for the Wolfpack — he runs track for the school in the 100 and 400 metres — but Silverthorne suggested he give it a whirl at running back.
“I thought why not and I have liked it ever since.”
Of course, he wasn’t expecting to be so dominant in his first year at the position.
“I think it was the great coaching, obviously. Silverthorne put in great plays for me to run and we have great O linemen,” Foster said. “All of them opened big holes for me and everyone encouraged me to be better.”
He felt he improved as the season wore on.
“It was work ethic and my awareness. I wanted to improve because I knew I had a chance to go to university.”
Guelph was an easy choice as his football destination for the new four years.
“I like the colours and I like the coaching staff. As soon as the coach came up to me after the Sir Winston game, he seemed very friendly and he seemed like a great guy. It was a great opportunity for me.”
He also had some interest from Queen’s, Waterloo and McMaster but Guelph was his top choice right from the beginning of the process.
The future sports management student at Guelph’s goal is to claw out any playing time he can.
“I am going to start with special teams and see if I can earn a starting spot.”
He can’t wait for his gridiron journey to begin.
“I am looking forward to the whole introduction of it, the excitement of meeting new friends and teammates, and building a good family within the team.”
In addition to track and football, Foster recently played in the Niagara all-star basketball games.