TUSCALOOSA — When you own a Ferrari, it only makes sense to take it out for a spin as many times as possible.
Playing at his new “Ferrari” weight, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster hasn’t been shy about revving his engine this season. Last week, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly became the latest victim to be run over by the speedy, 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker.
On the play, Kelly rolled to his right, pump-faking before tucking the ball down the sidelines. That’s when he met Foster.
The Alabama linebacker came in like a missile for a punishing tackled that ended with a thud and the Kelly tumbling out of bounds.
“I stopped and my jaw dropped like, ‘Dang,’” said linebacker Ryan Anderson who was on the field for the play. “I was scared. I was scared for him. I don’t know where he came from. I was running and it was bop! Like what was that? I should have known it was (No.) 10.”
Reuben Foster hit that man so hard the entire bench flinched. pic.twitter.com/ewhUySIxbr— Justin King (@JustinKing) September 19, 2016
Those hits are common from No. 10, Foster, even if they continue to draw surprise from his teammates during the moment.
"That's how Reuben hits people," defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson said. "I don't think he knows how to hit anyone soft."
The hit that started it all came in 2014, Foster’s sophomore year, in a game against LSU. Following an Alabama field goal to tie the game at 13 with three seconds left, Foster drilled Leonard Fournette on the ensuing kickoff return. The play sent the Alabama sideline into a frenzy and gave the Crimson Tide the momentum it needed to win the game in overtime.
That hit came at 240 pounds. Foster has since dropped 15 pounds from last season, a move he likened to switching from a Chevy Tahoe to a Ferrari. Before the season he said he felt the new weight allowed him to be more explosive. Now, opposing ball carriers are starting to see what he means.
Foster’s increased speed hasn’t been coupled with any lack of production. The senior is first on the team with 22 tackles this season. Last week, he led the Tide with 12 tackles despite missing most of the third quarter due to cramps.
Three weeks in, Foster is still picking up speed. That’s a scary thought for anyone that gets in its way.
“Reuben is a monster,” Anderson said. “Like I said, he’s 100 miles per hour every play.”