Clemson DE Justin Foster Leaves Program

After dealing with COVID-19 related issues, defensive end Justin Foster has decided to hang up his football cleats for the Tigers.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday defensive end Justin Foster has decided to move on from his football career with the Tigers after battling health issues.

Foster was unavailable for Swinney and the Tigers for all of the 2020 campaign.

"Justin is a guy that has always battled asthma and allergies and always had challenges when we got COVID," Swinney said. "Last summer, that really, really set him back. And, you know, he just wasn't able to do what he needed to do and he's way better than he was back in August, but he's still kind of working through that." 

Foster has shown flashes to both the fans and the coaching staff, and it was obvious Foster had the talent to make it professionally one day.

"At one point, (Foster) might have had an NFL future and I think led the defensive linemen in tackles for loss in 2019," Swinney said."How hard it was to see him have to go through this and how your guys tried to help him over the last year. You know, he's made a lot of progress and we talked about that. He’s a guy that, like I said, I really tried to talk him out of it. But, this is really what he wants to do. And, you know, he could, he could. I really think he could play at the next level I don’t think there’s any question about that." 

Foster decided to chase other business and career opportunities while he still had the chance.

"There’s still a process that he’s got to go through to kind of get back to where he can do that and you know we’re all hopeful that he’d come back (and go to the NFL). And honestly, he could even not play next year and then come back another year if he wanted if it even got to that. But you know, again he has his degree. He’s got a strong relationship with his girlfriend, and he’s got a great opportunity in front of him doing what he really wants to do, that he’s really passionate about and that’s really what it comes down to. So, you know, he put a lot of thought into it. Talked with his family for a long time and he knows he weighed everything. And this is really what he wants, he's just ready to to move on."

Foster leaves Clemson with 53 total tackles and 6.5 sacks recorded in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.