The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Tavien Feaster
Player position: Running back
Years left of eligibility: 3 years
Current rank on depth chart: Third
Player productivity so far: Feaster was a reserve running back and member of the Tigers’ special teams as a first-year freshman in 2016. He earned Future Impact Player Award for the offense at the season-ending banquet. He produced 222 rushing yards, third on the team, on 37 carries in 12 games. He owned a team-high 6.0 yards per carry among running backs.
What player does best: Feaster has great speed. A state champion track star, Feaster is perhaps the fastest player on the team and he has another gear when he gets into the open field that makes him almost impossible to catch. He also has very good hands out of the backfield and can be a weapon in the passing game.
What player needs to work on: The only thing holding Feaster back is his ability to read defenses, especially in pass protection. He was not asked to do any of that at nearby Spartanburg High School where he earned 5-star status. So he has had to learn a lot, especially in a Clemson offense that asks its running backs to do a lot. He made significant improvements in the spring and running back coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has been working hard with him to improve this part of his game.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
C.J. Spiller, 2006: Rushed for 938 yards as a true freshman and scored 10 touchdowns. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry and 72.2 yards per game. His longest run was 80 yards. He also caught 19 passes for 210 yards and 2 more touchdowns. He averaged 11.1 yards per reception with a long of 82 yards.
C.J. Spiller, 2009: He rushed for 1,212 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on his way to being named ACC Player of the Year. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry. He also caught 36 passes for 503 yards and scored 4 more touchdowns. He averaged 14.0 yards per reception. He also averaged 26.3 yards on 8 punt returns and scored on a 77-yard touchdown. He also averaged 32.8 yards on 23 kickoff returns and scored 4 more touchdowns. He was a consensus First-Team All-American.
Andre Ellington, 2010: Rushed for 686 yards on 118 carries, while averaging 5.8 yards per carry and scoring 10 touchdowns. He averaged 76.2 yards per game. He also caught 12 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown.
Andre Ellington, 2012: Rushed for 1,081 yards on 212 carries, while averaging 5.1 yards per carry and scoring 8 touchdowns. He averaged 83.2 yards per game. He also caught 14 passes for 232 yards and scored one touchdown.
What can you hope for? Feaster become more effective in the passing game and learns to read defenses better. If he does that, he becomes the starter and in the process gives Clemson an offensive weapon few teams will have.
What is a realistic expectation? Feaster gets better in the passing game and by mid-season becomes the starter. It is not unreasonable to think he can run for 600 or 700 yards and score six touchdowns, while also catching 20 or so passes for another 200 or 300 yards and a couple of more scores. There are a lot of similarities between him and C.J. Spiller besides the number on his jersey.
What about the future? Feaster is the future at the running back position for Clemson. Like Deshaun Watson was for the quarterback position, Feaster can change the way the offense works once he gets it all together. His ceiling is very high.