Tavien Feaster on being stronger: "I've got to get them before they get me"


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Feaster showed his strength during PAW drills earlier this week
Feaster showed his strength during PAW drills earlier this week

CLEMSON – Tavien Feaster admits he was a little timid at the start of last season, but now he’s ready to take a hit when needed. He’s also ready to deliver a blow when he has to.

The Spartanburg native had shoulder surgery before arriving at Clemson last season, and after not feeling 100 percent for two or three years, Feaster wasn’t sure if he could take the kind of hits delivered in college. He didn’t trust that his shoulder was ready for the grind.

He’s sure now, and told TigerNet earlier this week that he has a different outlook this season.

“My mindset has changed. I'm not all about trying to get to the sideline,” Feaster said. “I'm not worried about getting hit too hard or anything like that. I know it's either get a lick or take the lick, so I've got to get them before they get me. It's just my mindset. I think I was kind of timid because coming off of shoulder surgery you really don't want anybody to hit that.

“I was definitely timid about getting hit, but once I got rolling, I think everything started to pick up once I let somebody hit it and I started to get acclimated to the college game. I was unhealthy for three years of my high school career, so when you come back and have the surgery and then kind of sitting out my freshman year helped a lot.”

He not only changed his mindset, he changed his body and came to camp at just over 220 pounds.

“I ended about 210 (pounds) last year. I'm a taller guy, so I know my body frame is going to be different from the other backs, so I'm just taking it as I'm not too heavy,” Feaster said. “As long as I can manage it, I think I'll stay at 220. During the summer, we have to sprint with the weight lifting coaches, so I knew I could carry the weight and it wouldn't be a problem for me because I had already been running the whole summer.”

Feaster credited strength coach Joey Batson for pushing him to get in better shape.

“Coach Batson and staff did a wonderful job in the offseason just pushing me to my limits - running, lifting. I think I really got the full college experience,” he said. “I was just wanting to work hard and see where it took me. I knew I had to be more powerful because you have to pass block here. Also, running the ball, you have to be more powerful at the college level, so I decided that I was going to do everything I could this summer and just see it where it takes me.

“You've got to be built a certain way to take on the heavy linebackers, but I think you've got to attack it with the mindset that you've got to hit them first before they hit you. I definitely feel myself being more powerful. I felt like guys couldn't arm tackle me. I was running through tackles.”

Feaster said that growing up in Spartanburg – and making the kinds of decisions that allowed him to get to college – showed him he can do anything he sets his mind to.

“Just thinking about my freshman season after coming out as a high school All-American, things didn't work out the way I wanted them to my freshman year, so something had to change,” he said. “You have to be mentally tough before you're physically tough. I'm a product of my environment. I grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It's a tough city to live in. I'm just built like that.”

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