Tavien Feaster arrived at Clemson with expectations of becoming the Tigers’ next great running back.
Following a freshman season that he admitted was tough at times, Feaster might be ready to grow into that role in 2017.
The Spartanburg native opened fall camp listed as the No. 3 running back on Clemson’s depth chart behind C.J. Fuller and Adam Choice, but he is making a move toward the top as the Tigers inch closer to the season opener against Kent State on Sept 2.
“Tavien and Fuller have been mostly working with the ones because Choice has been out for the last couple of days, so he hasn’t had any reps,” Tigers running backs coach Tony Elliott said Thursday. “Right now you’ve got Fuller No. 1, you’ve got Tavien with a close No. 2, and then Choice was having a very, very good camp but he’s missed the last week.”
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Feaster has flashed the most potential of any of Clemson’s top three backs.
He led the Tigers in yards per carry last season at 6.0 and rushed for more yards than Fuller and Choice despite getting fewer carries.
But what kept Feaster off the field for most of last year was an inability to do the little things. He spent this offseason focusing on the details.
“I’m not letting the small things get to me, just trying to push,” Feaster said. “My mindset is different from where it was last year, so I think I’m more mentally tough.”
Feaster spent a lot of time in the weight room this offseason and believes he also improved his technique, but, most importantly, he worked on pass protection.
In high school, Feaster was used as a pass catcher out of the backfield instead of a pass protector, so his freshman season at Clemson provided a big wake-up call when he was asked to help slow down defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers.
“I didn’t know the coach’s expectations on pass protection or even playing at all,” Feaster said. “My catching ability kept a lot of people from blitzing (in high school) because if they blitzed I’d be right there to catch the ball and take it up the field.”
Feaster is hoping to improve his consistency over the final two weeks of fall camp and wants to prove to Clemson’s coaching staff that he is ready to be the go-to guy he was brought in to be.
“I want to be a lot more ahead of where I am now,” Feaster said. “I feel like I’m close, but then again some days I fall back a little bit. It just depends on the day. I’ve just got to be more consistent and be more prepared when my time comes.”