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Southern Nash’s Matt Foster looks to pass during an Oct. 18 game against Northern Nash. Foster is the first Firebirds quarterback to rush for at least 1,000 yards since 1990. Foster on Thursday committed to play football at Wingate University.

Matt Foster will soon get a feel for what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

The Southern Nash quarterback on Thursday signed a letter of intent to play football for Wingate University, a Division II program. There, Foster said that coaches envision him as a slot receiver.

“It’s a big position change but I should be able to do it just fine,” said Foster, who had two receptions this year and one last year that went for a touchdown. “I think it’s important that they’re taking a chance on someone they haven’t seen play the position.”

What coaches at the next level did see, however, was Foster’s athletic ability.

This past season saw the Firebirds reach the Class 3-A state title game, an eventual loss to Charlotte Chatholic. With Foster under center, Southern Nash finished with a 15-1 record and the most successful season in program history.

Foster threw for 745 yards and 11 touchdowns, and tormented defenses with his legs. He ran for 1,153 yards — second on the team behind all-state running back Quinton Cooley — with nine touchdowns. It was those gashing runs to the edge or sneaks through the middle that intrigued the Wingate coaching staff.

His ability to maneuver in tight spaces is just what a slot receiver should be able to do.

“It’ll be nice to see the other side of it,” Foster said. “I went to a camp where I entered as a wide receiver and I did pretty good at it, so that kind of sold me that I can play there.”

Another aspect that sold Foster was how the Wingate coaching staff valued loyalty. Coach Joe Reich is entering his 20th season as the head coach, drawing similarities to the Firebirds where coach Brian Foster has held a coaching position since 1990.

Matt Foster, who enjoyed winning seasons at Southern Nash, will join a program on the up. Wingate is coming off three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, a program first.

Foster plans to study to become a physical therapist. He became interested in the field after his brother and mother were involved in a car accident that forced both to undergo months of treatment. He said that watching his family improve through physical therapy was eye-opening, and he wanted to be able to make a difference that way, too.

“They have a program where you can finish in six years,” Foster said. “When my mom and brother got into their wreck, just seeing what they went through and how (physical therapy) helped them was big. The stuff they would do was neat. Sometimes they put them in a pool, and other times they would work with different things.”

Also to sign on Thursday was SouthWest Edgecombe’s Zach Sledge. The senior is headed to play basketball at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst.

Sledge is a strong all-around player who is averaging 7.3 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game this season for the Cougars. He is also averaging a team-high in blocks with 1.5 per game. No other player is averaging more than .6 blocks per contest.