Last Friday, South Carolina football was missing its newest running back Tavien Feaster on the practice field.
He wasn’t injured, and it wasn’t the infected tooth that sidelined him for a few other practices. No, the Gamecocks’ graduate transfer tailback was busy graduating at his new school’s most bitter rival.
When Feaster walked across the stage at Littlejohn Coliseum at Clemson, his name drew a mixed reaction from the crowd, according to video posted by The Clemson Insider and other accounts. After three seasons, 1,330 yards and 16 touchdown with the Tigers, he put the finishing touches on his Clemson career with a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management.
Right after that, it was back to Columbia for South Carolina’s Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. So was it weird or awkward to celebrate a major life milestone at one university and then represent the university’s fierce rival?
“No, sir. That was something I earned,” Feaster said. “You know, my family’s very proud of me. If y’all even know the half of what I’ve been through. But definitely, that was probably the best moment of my life so far, graduating college.”
Having that degree out of the way is a welcome reassurance for Feaster as he attempts to win South Carolina’s starting job and jump start a rushing attack that ranked towards the bottom of the SEC in most categories last year. But with that in hand, his academic load isn’t quite as light as some fifth-year seniors — he’s working on a master’s in hospitality and tourism management.
“It’s really no pressure at all, because I really gotta go start a master’s degree. So you know, I’m still in the classroom, still learning,” Feaster said. “But it definitely feels good to have a degree in my back pocket.”
As for moving from one in-state rival to another, Feaster said some of his new teammates have been “curious” about his old program, but his message to them has been simple: “Each program is different.”
And with a different program and a new level of education has come another difference: a new uniform number. After donning 28 for Clemson, Feaster picked 4 for his jersey at USC, despite 28 being available.
“Twenty-eight, that’s my number, that’s where it all started for me,” Feaster said. “But in middle school, I wore number four, so I had to take it back. ... It’s a fresh start.”