Clemson freshman running back Tavien Feaster admitted he was disappointed following the game against Troy last week.
Twenty-eight Clemson players played on offense in the contest, but he wasn’t one of them.
However, Feaster got his first shot to show what we can do at running back on Saturday, and he made the most of his opportunity.
Feaster ran for a team-high 83 yards on 12 carries and scored his first career touchdown as third-ranked Clemson defeated S.C. State 59-0 in Death Valley.
“Not playing the first two games, and them telling me I was going to get my shot Saturday — when I got in there, I tried to roll every time I got the ball,” Feaster said after the game. “It was go time.”
Why Feaster didn’t play last week had less to do with him and more to do with those in front of him at the running back position. Wayne Gallman, Tyshon Dye, Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller have been in the program for a while, and Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said their experience earned them the touches they got.
Still, it was a humbling situation for Feaster.
“I was a little shaken up by that because I haven’t sat the bench in a really long time, since my freshman year in high school,” Feaster said. “It was a dose of reality and told me I have to work for everything I get, and I just put my head down and went to work.”
Clemson’s offensive brain trust sat down after the Troy game and committed to playing Feaster early and often against S.C. State.
That’s precisely what came to fruition, as Feaster took his first collegiate handoff early in the second quarter and finished with a team-leading 12 totes.
The native of Spartanburg, S.C., averaged 6.9 yards per rush, and recorded five carries of 7 or more yards.
In the third quarter, Feaster found the end zone for the first time in a Clemson uniform to give the Tigers a 52-0 lead. Feaster grabbed a toss from Nick Schuessler and raced left side across the goal line untouched.
“I was amazed,” Feaster said of the touchdown. “I was just thinking about all the memories, and that I’m finally here after everything my senior year. To finally be here and score my first touchdown, it was amazing.”
Feaster said his performance on Saturday provided him with more confidence moving forward.
The question is will his performance on Saturday net him a larger role in the offense moving forward?
“Possibly, but I have to earn it,” Feaster said. “The coaches will go through their process and see if I’m ready for that, and if they feel like that, I’m going to embrace it and take action.”
Elliot said it was great for Feaster to gain confidence and get a taste of what it takes to play at a high level in college football.
While he and the staff will certainly evaluate and process what Feaster did on the field, Feaster’s performance in practice will continue to be weighed heavily, as well.
“He definitely has the skillset that can help us,” Elliott said. “He’s had a taste of it — now it’s about going to work in practice every single day.
“You don’t earn playing time, necessarily, on game day, but you do earn it in practice.”
Regardless, the future for Feaster is bright, and he gave Clemson fans a glimpse of it on Saturday.
“I feel like I showed the coaches what I bring to the table,” Feaster said, “and what I can do for this offense.”