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‘Crazy guy’ known for obliterating kick returners will help anchor Tide defense in 2015

Reuben Foster will need to step up in 2015. (Photo via YouTube)
Reuben Foster will need to step up in 2015. (Photo via YouTube)

TUSCALOOSA,Ala.–Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has long since solidified his place as a special teams nightmare. He flies in and lowers the boom on unsuspecting kickoff returners, energizing the crowd and the team.

But in 2015, with linebacker Trey DePriest heading to the NFL, Foster — and returning star linebacker Reggie Ragland — will have to not only focus on special teams, but help anchor the middle of the Crimson Tide’s defense.

“I’m really excited about this team,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “They seem to have a great attitude, they’ve worked really hard and got a pretty good leadership group. I’m excited about it.

“I know we’ve got a lot of holes to fill, especially on offense. But we also have a lot of veteran players, who have played a lot of football here that are going to get the opportunity to maybe take advantage of having a greater role on the team.”

Foster has played sparingly on defense in his time at Alabama, accounting for 22 total tackles in 11 games played in 2014. He was thrust into a starter’s role last year in Week 1 against West Virginia — with DePriest being ineligible — and appeared to be in over his head with the complex Alabama defense. But Foster showed a much greater understanding as the year went on, and will be primed to start in the fall of 2015.

“He got the playbook down towards the end of the year,” DePriest said. “So, I think you’ll see big things from Reuben this year.”

Though he hasn’t seen too much playing time on defense, Foster has earned a reputation for being the hardest hitter on the team, sometimes to his detriment. When he first arrived on campus, he didn’t know how to tackle properly and, during one practice, knocked himself out twice from tackling. He occasionally injured his neck while tackling in games and has missed time due to nagging injuries.

Outgoing Alabama fullback Jalston Fowler said he believes Foster can be a great leader for the team, and expects him to step into that roll without losing his edge.

“To be truthful, I think guys just respect him,” Fowler said. “They just know he’s crazy and you know you’re going to respect the crazy guy. You don’t want to piss the crazy guy off.”

For a preview of what to expect, here’s the “crazy guy” leveling Leonard Fournette, which Saban said elevated the team’s energy level and helped Alabama win the game in overtime.

And here he is obliterating Texas A&M.

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