first_img This is placeholder text Advertisement Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow catches on after earning scholarship Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2016 at 8:06 pm Contact Matt: [email protected]center_img Hunter Renfrow made his way down from where he had been sitting on the balcony in a Clemson football auditorium, high-fiving his teammates as they cheered, screamed and whistled for him. He embraced punter Andy Teasdall, then hugged head coach Dabo Swinney as he grabbed an envelope out of his hand. “Hunter is the perfect example of don’t judge a book by its cover, right?” Swinney told his players, who were still on their feet clapping. “Because he damn sure don’t look like a football player, but this little boy can ball.” The 2015 season was about to get underway and Swinney had called a team meeting to give out two scholarships. One went to Teasdall, the other to Renfrow. After joining the Tigers in 2014 as a preferred walk-on, Renfrow earned a scholarship after his redshirt freshman season with the Tigers. He amassed 492 yards on 33 receptions and five touchdowns in 2015, including two touchdowns on seven catches and 88 yards in the NCAA college football championship game on Jan. 11 against Alabama.,Swinney’s scholarship offer was the first time that Renfrow had ever been offered a scholarship from a Division I FBS team. The 5-foot-11 wide receiver earned seven Division I FCS football scholarship offers and one Division I baseball offer out of high school but instead chose to walk on at Clemson. As a walk-on, Renfrow was determined to prove himself, working so hard with the scout team during the spring and summer of 2015 that he had almost all of the incoming freshmen convinced he was a scholarship player. When Renfrow finally earned the scholarship in August, it caught some of them by surprise. “I was like, what?” sophomore running back Ray-Ray McCloud said. “I thought he already had one.” In practice, Renfrow was one of the hardest receivers for Clemson’s defensive backs to cover, wide receiver’s coach Jeff Scott said. He also used his time with the scout team to work on his position as a slot receiver— a position in which Renfrow is asked to block almost as often as he’s asked to catch. “He earned (the scholarship) through the way he practiced his redshirt year,” Scott said. “When a scholarship became available, I think it was a no brainer to all of the coaches and the players who to give it to.”,His total receiving yards that year placed fifth best on the team, and his 14.9 yards per catch was the third best. Renfrow’s breakout season climaxed in the most important game of the year for Clemson. After scoring a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl a week and a half prior, Renfrow shocked the Crimson Tide secondary, catching seven passes for 88 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns. He was named Clemson’s co-player of the game along with quarterback Deshaun Watson. “It really was not a surprise to any of us coaches or players, because Hunter made those types of plays in practice this past year,” Scott said. “The fans, the media, the national spotlight, everybody was able to see the player that we’ve seen in practice since he’s been here.” Both of Renfrow’s touchdowns ended with him sprawled out in the southeast end zone of University of Phoenix Stadium, just in front of where his family was sitting in the main-level seats. It was exactly what he imagined when he was younger playing football in his backyard.,“It was definitely a surreal experience,” Renfrow said. “It was like when I was 10 years old — imagining that I would catch two touchdowns in the national championship.” Clemson went on to lose the title game, 45-40, but the loss wouldn’t blemish Renfrow’s storybook season. He has since has evolved into Clemson’s newfound walk-on poster child. The attention from fans and the media has skyrocketed since the Alabama game. And he realizes that it’s up to him to mentor other walk-ons at Clemson, and he hopes that they can learn from his experiences through his first two seasons. “I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like,” Renfrow said. “That’s why I just told (the walk-ons) to have fun and enjoy it. Fifteen years from now, you’ll look back on your college experience and you want to make a difference, but at the same time had fun and enjoyedlife.”,Banner photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics. Comments Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.last_img read more