Firebirds’ Foster ready to be a Wingate Bulldog

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STANHOPE — Matt Foster has literally grown up around the Southern Nash High football program.

Of course, that would be the case with his father, Brian, as the Firebirds head coach for 22 seasons and older brother, Zack, a former quarterback and current assistant coach. But now that it’s time for the youngest Foster to choose a college program to join, he naturally found one that is similar to what he’s grown up around.

On Thursday, Foster made official his decision to accept a scholarship offer from NCAA Division II Wingate University by signing his National Letter of Intent in the Southern Nash media center.

Matt Foster said he was offered by Barton College and Lenoir-Rhyne University, where his dad played defensive back, while attracting attention from Div. I Campbell University (where he had an academic scholarship), Div. II Winston-Salem State and Div. III Methodist, among others. Foster said that he was swayed by Bulldogs veteran head coach Joe Reich, who will be in his 20th season this fall, during a recent recruiting visit. Reich directed Wingate to a school-record 10-2 mark in 2019.

“The fact that he’s been there for that long,” Foster said. “You don’t see that too often in college football. It kind of reminds me of Southern Nash with how their coaching staff is with a lot of energy and they’re all close. You can tell they like doing what they do. I had a good workout for him and he ended up offering me a little bit of money. He was willing to wait for me to sign to see what my other financials were like.”

Foster, who wants to major in physical therapy, said the combination of athletic and academic monies from Wingate was also a key factor in his decision.

However, Foster, the Firebirds’ two-year starter at quarterback, will have a new position at Wingate — slot receiver.

“I think it’ll come natural to him,” Brian Foster said. “He’s gone out with Zack on the ball field and there’s no telling how many passes he’s caught in his life. And I think he’ll enjoy it.”

Matt Foster, who ran for more than 1,100 yards as a senior, was a big reason the Firebirds reached the state championship for the first time in school history this past season, but he’s ready for the change and appreciative that Reich and his staff will give him a chance at a new position.

“They had never actually seen me play receiver in a game and they were willing to offer me money to play,” he said. “I thought that was neat, too. Just that they were willing to take a chance on me.”

Foster said that he’s actually always liked playing receiver but he had to follow in his brother’s footsteps as the signal-caller for the Firebirds.

“If I had played at the same time as Zack, I would have been a slot,” he said. “I would have loved to gone out there and catch some balls and make some plays. But I never had a chance to because of the personnel on the teams that we’ve had when I played, we never had someone else who could play quarterback and let me do other things that I was good at. I could do it and I’m a leader so that’s where they put me at.”

Now Matt Foster can’t wait to create his own legacy at a new place.

“It’s a new environment,” he said. “I’ve been here all my life and I’m going to miss it but this is something new.”