Clemson running back Tavien Feaster spoke with the media on Tuesday afternoon for the first since arriving in Tigertown this past summer.
The freshman spoke about his progress as one of Clemson’s five running backs, his comeback from a shoulder injury, and his special place in the offense.
Question: Deshaun (Watson) and other guys said that during fall camp you’re really in Wayne’s hip pocket. What did you try to learn from him?
Feaster: “I try to learn everything from him, he’s a great guy. Not only in football, but in how he handles himself off the field. I try to take everything I can from him.”
Question: About midway through camp, Dabo (Swinney) said, “Tavien is getting into fourth gear, but I need him to get into fifth gear.” What did he mean by that?
Feaster: “He was saying I’m playing good, but I need to kick it up a notch. They brought me here to be special, and that’s what I need to do.”
Question: I’m sure you’ve heard all the comparisons made between yourself and C.J. Spiller, especially wearing his No. 28. What have you thought about all those comparisons?
Feaster: “That’s been special just to be brought up in the same conversation as C.J. Spiller. It’s just been an honor. He’s a great guy and what he did for this school is unbelievable.”
Question: What’s the biggest part of the game that you’ve learned more of since you got here? And how is your shoulder?
Feaster: “I think I learned more of the blocking concept than I ever did in high school, I know what it takes, the technique and all that. And my shoulder, it’s about ninety five percent right now.”
Question: What do you think you did to take yourself from the fourth level to the fifth level like you were asked to?
Feaster: “I think I stopped trying to play mistake free, and just play football. When I first got here, I was trying to make no mistakes, trying to be perfect, but I understand you’re going to mess up but you just have to play one hundred percent and go full speed all the time.”
Question: Was that different than in high school?
Feaster: “I was like that freshman year. Towards the end, as my junior year and senior year came around, I was so comfortable that I just went out there and played without even thinking about it.”
Question: When you’re trying to get past the shoulder surgery, how hard is it to block as you said and the run through contact and be physical?
Feaster: “When I first got here, honestly I didn’t want anyone to touch it or it be touched so I was kind of running a little skittish. But it’s football, you got to turn it on, you got to play. So when I have that in the back of my mind, it’s like hey, it’s always going to get hit, it’s going to hurt some days, just go through with it. I think that was the turning point for me.”
Question: In high school, you demonstrated a great ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, scoring touchdowns on wheel routes and so forth. Do you think that gives you a special niche in this offense?
Feaster: “Yes sir, definitely. I think I could be special in this offense just by the way I catch the ball and the things they do in the backfield. Getting them on flat route, opening space, just getting me more involved.”
Question: Now that you’re healthy, do you ever look back and think, “Man, I was really hurting those last two years of high school?”
Feaster: “Yes sir, definitely. Last season of high school, my health was one of my biggest concerns. Not being able to get in the weight room like I wanted to in high school because I had a shoulder injury and then my senior year, I messed up my knee a little bit. That was definitely something I knew I had to get healthy before I could do anything else I wanted to do.”