Communication. Relationships. Winning. Getting top-flight recruits to ink a National Letter of Intent weighs on staffs winning in all facets of recruiting.
For Tennessee to simply get Tavien Feaster to visit Rocky Top for its Orange Carpet Day event on Saturday, it took a relentless approach. However, the time with head man Butch Jones, running backs coach Robert Gillespie and the staff did wonders to get the Volunteers in the mix for the Scout No. 30-rated player in the nation and four-star running back.
“It was awesome,” Feaster said of his time in Knoxville. “It was an awesome experience. Just the atmosphere and just what we did today was pretty cool. One of the best visits I’ve ever been on.
“Just the way the coaches pursue me (stuck out) and just the way they went on about every player that was (in Knoxville). Coach Jones was really straightforward with us and coach G was…he told me everything that I needed to know about Tennessee to get me to look more into Tennessee.”
The Spartanburg, South Carolina, native gave his commitment to Clemson back on Feb. 4. Jones, Gillespie and area recruiter Mark Elder didn’t let up in their pursuit of Feaster.
“It meant a lot,” the Scout No. 1 prospect in the Palmetto State’s 2016 class said. “It meant that I was something special to those guys, and I had to go check them out since I was that special to them. Honestly, I just wanted to see what they have to offer and I know right now they have a lot to offer.
“He said that I was going to be the only back that they would take in 2016. They’ve got four scholarship backs right now. They’ve got a junior, which is Alvin Kamara. They’ve got Jalen Hurd, who’s a sophomore. They’ve got two freshmen.
“He said I was just different, a different type of back. My speed is very different and the way I catch the ball is very different. I could come in here, work hard and make a difference in this place.”
Clemson and Tennessee will have a battle until the four-star steps foot on one of the campuses permanently.
“Georgia is in the mix a little bit but most definitely Tennessee and Clemson are my top schools right now,” said Feaster, who did not comment on his commitment level to the Tigers.
“After this visit, I most definitely have to re-evaluate everything I’ve thought about Tennessee. Like I said, when they came in the first time, they were on me hard. They’ve always recruited me hard, but Clemson was selling the whole in-state thing. When I realized they’re just about the same length away from my house, it was like, ‘That’s really not that far.’
“If I go to Tennessee, I can get away from home and just be myself, no distractions, no nothing.”
An official visit to Rocky Top for the 6-foot, 195-pounder sounds like it's in the works as Feaster said he is “most definitely giving them a second look.”
The Spartanburg High School standout with 4.34 speed would like to enroll in college this winter but that may not be an option.
“The way my school is set up, you take year-long courses, but I’m fully qualified if I was to leave in January. If my school lets me take classes one semester, then I’ll be a January enrollee.”
Feaster added that he has not yet set up official visits.