Clemson’s summer depth chart says C.J. Fuller and Adam Choice are ahead of Tavien Feaster in the race to be Wayne Gallman’s replacement in the Clemson backfield.
Gallman has led the Tigers in rushing in each of the last two years with nearly 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Clemson graduate was selected in the fourth-round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
Co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott said in the spring Feaster is making progress, but things are still moving a little too fast for the sophomore.
“They all ran hard at times,” Elliott said. “Fuller and Choice probably took a little bit of a step. Tavien, even though he is still making progress, things started moving fast. You still saw a couple of flashes, but I would like to see him be more consistent.”
The main issue for Feaster is pass protection, but the sophomore is trying his best to get over that hurdle.
“In order for me to get on the field I have to be able to pass block,” he said. “The coaches explained that to me…so I’m going to work, putting in the overtime in the weight room just to get my body ready and have a shot to win it.”
Though he is still behind Fuller and Choice, the signs are there that Feaster is starting to turn the corner. Feaster, the top running back in the country coming out of high school in 2016, flashed shades of brilliance in the limited action he saw last year.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound back ran for 221 yards on 37 carries to go along with two touchdowns in his freshman season.
“I want to put myself in position to win the job, and I don’t want take anything for granted,” Feaster said. “Just grind every day.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is proud of how Feaster has handled the competition and how he has matured since getting on campus last summer.
“He’s grown as a young person,” the Clemson coach said. “He’s really bought into the program. He’s a team guy.”
During the 15 spring practices, Feaster showed marked improvement in all areas, but Swinney said the young running back still has a ways to go in his progress.
“He’s improved a ton,” Swinney said. “He’s a guy that really had a lot to learn last year. He was coming off shoulder surgery and really needed to learn the protection side of things. We’re not going to just trust anybody out there with Deshaun Watson.
“We try to do a great job of protecting our quarterback, and that was an area he needed to improve in. And just learning the system, for a freshman coming off an injury, he really did a good job.”