College Sports

Tavien Feaster officially joins USC, practices with Gamecocks for first time

What addition of Tavien Feaster means for USC running backs

The State's Ben Breiner breaks down the impact of the South Carolina football team adding Clemson transfer Tavien Feaster to the Gamecocks' running back room.
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The State's Ben Breiner breaks down the impact of the South Carolina football team adding Clemson transfer Tavien Feaster to the Gamecocks' running back room.

Graduate transfer running back Tavien Feaster is at South Carolina and practiced for the first time Saturday with the Gamecocks.

Feaster was on the field Saturday with the Gamecocks for their second official camp practice, tight ends coach Bobby Bentley confirmed as he spoke with the media afterward.

Feaster’s official arrival was in limbo as he wrapped up summer school classes and graduation at Clemson.

“I thought he looked good but my focus right now is tight ends and recruiting more good players in,” Bentley said.

USC added him to the team’s official roster Saturday afternoon. He will wear No. 4 with the Gamecocks.

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney spoke Friday about Feaster, who announced earlier in the week he would transfer from the Tigers to in-state rival South Carolina.

“I wish him all the best in all [games] but one of them, for sure,” Swinney said as Clemson opened preseason practice. “It’s no different whether he’s going to your rival or whether he’s going to someone else on your schedule. That’s kind of where where we are with college football now. You’re going to see that more and more.

“We certainly wish him well. He was a model student-athlete for us. He’s a great player.”

Feaster had 222 carries for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons at Clemson, but his opportunity for carries behind Heisman Trophy candidate Travis Etienne was uncertain heading into the 2019 season.

His arrival will boost a USC tailback corps that includes three seniors in Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner and Mon Denson, as well as potential impact freshman Kevin Harris . Dowdle, Turner and Denson rushed for between 654 yards and 294 yards last year.

“He’s moved on to a different situation for himself,” Swinney said. “There was nothing negative about it in our conversations. It’s just what he felt like he needed to do. It doesn’t mean I agree with it, but that’s his decision.”

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Feaster, who will be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer, also considered Virginia Tech before choosing the Gamecocks.

“It’s important that people understand Tavien earned the right to do that. I mean am I glad he went to the rival? I’m not glad that he’s not here. The only thing I’m disappointed is he’s not here, because he definitely was a valuable member of our team and could have helped this football team,” Swinney said. “But having said that, he is a great young man, great family. Not one problem with that guy. Did everything that was asked of him.”

No one at South Carolina had discussed Feaster publicly until the confirmation Saturday.

USC coach Will Muschamp did say this Thursday as the Gamecocks held their annual media day: “We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to help our football team. Every football decision we make in our organization is about winning.”

Feaster was considered a four-star prospect and the 29th-best player in the country when he signed with the Tigers in 2016. He averaged 6 yards per carry during his career at Clemson and could quickly challenge for Carolina’s starting job.

“I didn’t think I was in a bad position at Clemson, but personal reasons are why I left,” Feaster told The State in May.

South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Bobby Bentley confirms that former Clemson running back Tavien Feaster, who recently announced his transfer to USC, practiced Saturday and looked good while doing so.