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Former Texas S BJ Foster signs with Sam Houston State

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The multi-year starter for the Longhorns is headed to Huntsville.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After entering the NCAA transfer portal in December, former Texas Longhorns safety BJ Foster signed with the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Wednesday as a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining.

“BJ is a tremendous get for us,” Sam Houston State head coach KC Keeler said in a announcement released by the school. “He is a proven playmaker at the FBS level and has played and started n a lot of big ball games. We are excited that he will be playing his final season of college football as a Bearkat.”

The cousin of former Longhorn standouts Quentin Jammer and Quandre Diggs, Foster arrived as a seemingly can’t-miss prospect who was part of the historic 2018 defensive back recruiting class — a consensus five-star prospect, Foster was ranked as the No. 24 player nationally and the No. 3 safety, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Foster’s career began with promise after he arrived in Austin from Angleton, too, as he started six games and recorded 46 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, along with an interception, as a true freshman. Over the middle, he was a hard-hitting enforcer. As a box safety, he was difficult for offensive linemen to deal with and a frequent visitor to opposing backfields with the ability to finish plays.

Then Foster battled through a shoulder injury as a sophomore that severely impacted his tackling ability, forcing offseason surgery after all his statistics declined.

When new defensive coordinator Chris Ash arrived with a different coaching staff, Foster struggled to adjust. A fractured hand punching his car during the offseason didn’t help. Neither did quitting the team midway through the season-opening win over UTEP, though then-head coach Tom Herman ultimately allowed Foster to rejoin his Texas teammates. Foster finished the season with 45 tackles over nine games, including two starts.

Another coaching change went better for Foster as he regained his role as a starter and set a career high with 47 tackles and three interceptions in 2021. But with defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski regularly employing two deep safeties, Foster rarely had the opportunity to play in the box where he was so effective early in his career. In Foster’s final game at Texas, he was benched after taking a bad angle on Kansas State quarterback Will Howard’s 71-yard touchdown run that head coach Steve Sarkisian assessed as featuring poor effort from multiple players, including Foster.

The poor angle and inability to catch Howard represented the final, enduring image of Foster’s career on the Forty Acres.

Now he’ll have a chance to write another chapter in Huntsville.