Usually a guy who is known for being the most optimistic coach in college football, Dabo Swinney kept things real when he talked about the transfer of Clemson running back Tavien Feaster prior to Thursday’s Prowl & Growl event at the Florence Center in Florence, S.C.
Swinney was very honest and open when he was asked about the Tigers’ running back situation now that the Spartanburg, S.C., native as entered his name into the transfer portal and intends to leave Clemson after he graduates in August.
“It’s not as good as it was before he left, that is for sure, because he is a great player,” Swinney told a handful of media members, including The Clemson Insider. “You are talking about, I think, he is second all-time in yards per carry for people that have had at least a thousand yards rushing.”
Feaster decided to transfer out of Clemson on April 24. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry, second only to 2018 ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne (7.8 yards per carry). Feaster complied 1,330 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. He scored 16 touchdowns overall.
In all, Feaster played in 41 games in his Clemson career and was the Tigers’ primary starting-running back in 2017, when he started 11 games.
Swinney says they just have to look at Feaster’s transfer as if they lost another senior that has moved on after graduation.
“I certainly was disappointed,” Swinney said. “I think he is a great player and I definitely wanted him to stay. It was a decision that he felt like was best for him. He has been a model student and player. He is going to be a graduate. I think that is the number one thing I always focus on is guys getting their degree.
“It is just kind of a decision he felt like he needed to make and was excited about. So, we support him in that, so it is a big loss for us. He is a great player. I mean a great player and a great person who was a leader for us, too.”
With Feaster gone, Etienne becomes the leader in the running backs room, which will also have redshirt junior Darien Rencher, a walk-on. The other three—Lyn-J Dixon, Chez Mellusi and Michel Dukes— are a sophomore and two true freshmen.
“Obviously, Travis is back, and he is a special talent. This gives more opportunity to Lyn-J. I think he will be ready to step up and take full advantage of more opportunities,” Swinney said. “We signed two, so that was big. So, we will get Chez and Michel Duke on campus here in a few weeks. That is going to be critical.
“I think Darien Rencher is a young man that can really help us. He has proven to be a very dependable player with the opportunities that he has gotten. We will be fine. We have a good group.”