Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 55

16 OCT. 17, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE D e La Salle High School near Oakland in Northern Califor- nia has produced dozens of top Division I college football stars and more than its share of NFL players since becoming a prep football powerhouse about 30 years ago. At one point through the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Spartans won a na- tional-record 151 consecutive games. Notre Dame All-American lineman Aaron Taylor (1990-93) and standout Irish defensive tackle Derek Landri (2003-06) are members of the proud De La Salle football fraternity. But there's one particular former De La Salle star who shines brighter than any for a young Irish fan in the Bay Area. Benicio Alumbaugh is the 2-year-old son of eighth-year De La Salle head football coach Justin Alumbaugh. And each Saturday when dad is winding down after his work week, little Benicio is gearing up, impa- tiently waiting to watch and cheer on the best player he believes dad ever coached — Notre Dame sophomore defensive end Isaiah Foskey, a 2019 De La Salle graduate. "We watch the Notre Dame games together. Benicio puts on his foot- ball helmet every game and says, 'I'm Isaiah,'" Justin explained with a laugh. "He's running around while the game is on, trying to tackle dad. It's fun to watch." Little Benicio's player admiration stems from a De La Salle football photo shoot in 2018 when Coach Alumbaugh asked Foskey to hold 6-month-old Benicio for a quick picture. "Benicio was completely pan- icked," Justin recalled. "But since then, my son has been all about Isa- iah. He loves him. It never stops." And according to Alumbaugh, the appreciation for Foskey never stopped for anyone in the De La Salle family. Classmates, teachers, coaches and clergy all agreed that this special young man was not only a model student-athlete but also an all-around good guy. "He is one of the most loved and respected kids that I have coached; he treats people well," Alumbaugh said when asked what made Foskey a runaway choice for senior captain- ship in 2018, an honor voted on by his teammates. "He was a high-profile athlete, but he wasn't arrogant. He has a good frame of mind and a good heart, and people are just naturally drawn to that." Even at a premier football school such as De La Salle, Foskey was still able to become a two-way player and a three-year starter for Alumbaugh. Foskey was a gifted tight end on offense, so talented in fact that he could've played the position at about any college in the country. And on defense, he was a menac- ing hybrid linebacker/end, blessed with the broad frame, long limbs and room to grow college strength coaches dream about sculpting. On the suggestion of his father and Alumbaugh, Foskey realized that de- fensive end would best suit his long- term football plans. Foskey said later that this defensive decision was a relatively easy one. "Tight end is pretty fun to play, but defensive end just comes more naturally for me," Foskey explained. "I feel like if you make a play on de- fense, it is a lot more electric for the fans and the people on the sideline." With an offer sheet that included Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State and dozens of others, Foskey could've picked about any school in the country and played either posi- tion at a very high level. But wanting to relive the experi- ences and successes of high school in a similar setting for college, Foskey chose Notre Dame, a university he later called a "bigger version" of De La Salle. From the spirituality and academic Despite playing only about 25 percent of Notre Dame's defensive snaps through two games, Foskey still led the Irish with 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and four quarterback hurries. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS PLAYMAKER Sophomore defensive end Isaiah Foskey is using his limited chances to make a big impact

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 17, 2020