Elliott: Tavien Feaster will play if ready


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Feaster works out at Tueaday's practice
Feaster works out at Tueaday's practice

CLEMSON – Tavien Feaster has turned heads during the first two days of fall camp, and now offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has to figure out how to get Feaster on the field.

The 6-0, 207-pounder set records while at Spartanburg High School and was one of the nation’s top-rated running backs in the 2016 recruiting cycle. However, he faces stiff competition at the running back spot at Clemson, with starter Wayne Gallman and veteran reserves Tyshon Dye, Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller blocking the way.

The early returns for climbing the depth chart have been positive.

“He's fast. He's as advertised. He's very fast,” Elliott said after Wednesday’s practice. “But you see a lot more natural running ability than I anticipated. When you watched him in high school, it was a lot of getting him on the edge and get him in space and play him at wideout and get the ball in his hands. But he looks very natural between the tackles thus far. We are very excited about his skill set and his size. He's a big guy, and when he runs, it just looks powerful and fast.”

Elliott said Feaster is showing a desire to learn and has taken on Gallman as a mentor.

“He is very humble. You always look forward to de-recruiting a guy and when he came in he attached to Wayne's hip and Wayne has taken him under his wing,” Elliott said. “He understands the hierarchy in our room, and it's been pleasant.”

So where does he fit in with the offense?

“We have to get the pads on and see how much he can retain. It’s only been two days, and he has not been hit yet. We have to see where his shoulder is, but so far you will say based on his skill set, he has something that those other guys don’t,” Elliott said. “Each one of them brings something to the table, but he is more of a complete package.”

The key will be to make sure Feaster doesn’t get overwhelmed, a la former Clemson running back Mike Bellamy.

“We will try to take advantage of his skill set if he’s ready for the challenge and how well he picks up the playbook,” Elliott said. “That’s one of the things I learned with Mike Bellamy – Mike had maybe the best skill set of any guy who’s come through the program, but by giving him too much, you almost constipate him and slow him down. It depends on how much he can absorb but so far I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.”

Elliott said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen out of Feaster both on and off the football field.

“I recruited him for three years. He was kind of an immature guy early in his career in high school. But he is very focused,” Scott said. “I never saw him like this in his three years since recruiting him in high school. I have never seen him as focused and as zeroed in as he is right now. I love seeing him hang out with Wayne Gallman. I think Wayne has kind of taken him under his wing all summer long, and it shows. Through two days, he does not look overwhelmed. I know he has a lot to learn, but the good thing is he is very focused.

“Sometimes the talented freshmen come in, and they don’t know what they are doing. They just kind of go through the motions and they think they are doing alright. But he is a guy that is soaking everything up, and we have been very pleased. He has shown a few sparks there in the team period. That’s a good thing. The biggest thing will be the consistency and the retention as we continue in the installation.”

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