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Running back competition still heated

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott declared C.J. Fuller as the starting running back. Although Fuller had an excellent game against Kent State in Clemson’s 56-3 victory Saturday in Death Valley, he surely has some competition in Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster and Adam Choice.

“We were fully invested.” Feaster said after Saturday’s game. “We practiced for a long time. Hats off to the defense because they really got us ready for today. It has been a great off-season getting ready so I think everybody was confident in the plan. We had great preparation during the week so we were ready.”

Feaster was especially complementary of true freshman Travis Etienne who lead the team in rushing yards with a total of 81 yards and eight carries.

“He shows me something every day,” said Feaster. “He is a special kid.”

Feaster was second in rushing yards (77) along with a touchdown (47 yards). Adam Choice had four carries and rushed for 20 yards while scoring a touchdown on a 3-yard run. Fuller scored two touchdowns and rushed for 51 yards on seven carries.

“It definitely helps a lot that you have four guys who can go out there and run the ball,” Feaster said. “It takes a little pressure off of one man.”

Feaster is thankful to be right in the middle of those four guys. He’s feels he has put in the time and the work and is confident in his abilities.

“It felt good to be in this year’s game plan,” he said. “I worked for it all off-season so it really felt good to be a part of it this year.”

Feaster’s standout moment came in the third quarter when he exploded with his 47-yard touchdown run.

“I was (caught) in the moment,” he said. “It was a great run, great block by the offensive line, so I was just excited for that.”

The running back competition continues to heat up and Elliot is unsure as to who will start at the position going into next week’s game against Auburn. Feaster understands it is a tough decision after the production and performances of all four players on Saturday.

“Everybody played tremendously today,” he said. “Everybody scored today. Everybody had a good game so you really can’t say anything going into next week. We will just see how it plays out.”

There was no question a void was going to be left at running back when Wayne Gallman left for the NFL. But the loss, at least for right now, did not seem to faze the running game as the Tigers totaled 353 yards on just 43 carries.

“I definitely think we are a great group,” he said. “I think we have guys that can get it done. Just because a guy moves on to the NFL doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for the running backs. I think we definitely answered that.”

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