South Carolina had three seniors and two freshmen running backs it expected to contribute to its offensive attack before it began fall camp, but Thomas Brown felt the group still needed more competition and someone who could play “at a high level.”
Tavien Feaster, who transferred into the Gamecock program last week, will bring just that — and a whole lot of talent.
Feaster, a 5-11, 220-pounder who was part of the Clemson’s 2016 and 2018 national championship teams, rushed for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons with the Tigers.
“He’s a hard worker and a talented young man,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said. “I’m excited he’s here. … We knew Tavien from recruiting him before. He’s a good young man. He’s got a great family. We reached out to him to see his interest in South Carolina and he came down a couple of times and really enjoyed it and felt like he fit in here.
“It’s a good opportunity for us and him.”
Muschamp did not put any expectations on Feaster, other than saying he expects the senior running back to come in and work hard and compete with fellow senior backs Rico Dowdle, Mon Denson and A.J. Turner.
“Anytime you have more competition, that certainly helps you,” Muschamp said.
Brown, the first-year Gamecocks running backs’ coach, mentioned Feaster’s versatility.
“He played a bunch of ball at [Clemson]. He’s a great receiver out of the backfield and has great hands. So we’ll see what he can do,” the coach said.
Brown has been impressed with Feaster’s preparation.
“Once he announced he was kind of coming to us, I kind of met with him maybe two times individually before practice started,” he said. “And he picked the offense up really fast.
“I love the way he goes about his business.”
Feaster has an infected tooth and missed some of the start of South Carolina’s Tuesday practice but was seen taking normal reps during an open portion of practice.
Several South Carolina defensive players commented on the Feaster addition on Monday.
“Tavien looks good. He’s getting adjusted to the practice tempo,” cornerback Jaycee Horn said. “We practice real hard here, so he’s getting adjusted. But he looks good. He runs behind his pads real well.
“I’m excited to have him here. … He’s real cool. We’ve had a couple of conversations [in the locker room]. He’s on my row. Just a real cool guy. He fits right in.”
When asked if Feaster has shown his new teammates his national championship rings, Horn smiled.
“No,” he said. “I don’t think he’s going to bring them out. We might not like that too much.”
“He’s a good player and he’s going to help us a lot this year,” defensive end D.J. Wonnum said. “I’m excited for him.”
“We’re all teammates and we all want to succeed. That’s what we’re trying to do,” cornerback Israel Mukuamu added.
Linebacker T.J. Brunson fielded a question about Feaster seconds in to his chat with reporters.
“He’s a really good player. He has really good vision and he’s a pretty fast guy,” the senior said. “I’m looking forward to him adding some depth to the team and just being a playmaker for us.
“I’m happy he’s on the team.”