Clemson’s Renfrow makes cover of Sports Illustrated

clemfoot-sicoverHunter Renfrow grew up a few blocks from the Pine Lakes International Country Club, where Sports Illustrated was founded. Little did he know when he was playing pick-up games in the neighborhood that he would someday grace the cover of the iconic magazine.

But when the Jan. 16 issue lands on news stands and in mailboxes across the country, the Socastee High product will be front and center. The image of Clemson’s No. 13 making the last-second, game-winning and national championship-clinching touchdown catch in a 35-31 victory Alabama is now captured for eternity on a spot reserved for sports’ brightest stars.

Ironically, it was 35 years ago today that Clemson football made its SI cover debut. That time it was wide receiver Perry Tuttle hoisting the football in the air when the Tigers defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to claim their only other national title.

Clemson football made three more SI cover appearances during their recent surge, but the latest one is a landmark for the Tigers and the Grand Strand. Just as the program’s rise to the top is a tale of hard work and perseverance paying off, Renfrow’s story of an underdog overcoming the odds embodies the spirit of the 2016 Tigers.

At Socastee High, Renfrow was one of those rare athletes to earn the label of a “player” – a term used to describe one with such natural talent and ability that they make the game look easy. As an option quarterback, he ran circles around bigger defenders. He also played defensive back, punter, and kick returner – everything but lead the band at halftime.

But at 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Renfrow was a football star in a chess club president’s body. He was highly recruited by smaller schools, and he could have chosen to play baseball at the college or pro level. But his dream was to play major college football, and Clemson agreed to make a “preferred walk-on” – a nice way of saying come earn your scholarship.

Renfrow quickly showed what he could do once he got his foot in the door. Surrounding by a five-star receiving corp and going up against blue-chip DBs who snickered at first when they looked at him across the line of scrimmage, Renfrow proved he belonged by taking his licks, running precision routes, and showing an incredible knack for catching everything thrown his direction.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney touched on Renfrow’s surprising success in the press conference after the national championship game. “I remember last year everybody was like ‘Why are we playing Hunter Renfrow?'” Swinney recalled. “Well, I’ve been to all the practices, and he is the best one out there.”

Like a true player, Renfrow has been at his best in the biggest games. His two touchdown catches in last year’s title game seemingly couldn’t be topped, but his clutch play in the sequel surpassed all expectations: 10 catches, 92 yards, two touchdowns receptions and a touchdown-saving tackle that forced the Tide to settle for a field goal and proved to be the difference in the final score.

Perhaps most impressive is the class Renfrow showed in both defeat and victory in those two games. His humility reflects well on his team, family, friends and hometown. It’s a performance well deserving a place of honor, and there are few honors in the world of sports than the cover of Sports Illustrated. Not bad for a little kid from Myrtle Beach.

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Comments

comments

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt preview

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt previewThe Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina announced today that [more]

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squad

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squadCoastal Carolina had only one player named to the 2017 [more]

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf program

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf programJim Garren, who helped Oklahoma to three straight NCAA Championship [more]

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader split

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader splitMyrtle Beach fell 5-3 in game one of Thursday's doubleheader, [more]

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football poll

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football pollThe Appalachian State Mountaineers are the favorites to win the [more]

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut Oher

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut OherThe Carolina Panthers released offensive tackle Michael Oher, the subject [more]

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coach

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coachCoastal Carolina head women’s basketball coach Jaida Williams announced Wednesday [more]

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager post

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager postThe Carolina Panthers turned to a familiar face to fill [more]

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series win

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series winJesse Hodges' grand slam in the sixth inning of Tuesday's [more]

Clemson picked to finish behind FSU for ACC title

Clemson picked to finish behind FSU for ACC titleClemson football coach Dabo Swinney spent the offseason trying to [more]

Mutiny set for PDL Eastern Conference Championship

Mutiny set for PDL Eastern Conference ChampionshipThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny will carry a 10-game undefeated streak [more]

Panthers fire GM Gettleman week before training camp

Panthers fire GM Gettleman week before training campThe Carolina Panthers fired general manager Dave Gettleman after four [more]

Rucker tosses another gem as Pelicans split double dip

Rucker tosses another gem as Pelicans split double dipMike Rucker dominated in the finale of Monday's de facto [more]

Weather plagues Pelicans for second straight game

Weather plagues Pelicans for second straight gameMyrtle Beach and Buies Creek both scored a run in [more]

MB's Grigg continues hot summer with national title

MB's Grigg continues hot summer with national titleWhen Holden Grigg returns to Myrtle Beach High this fall, [more]

Former Chant Wilson nets deal in Austrian pro league

Former Chant Wilson nets deal in Austrian pro leagueFormer Coastal Carolina University basketball standout Elijah Wilson, the third [more]

Winston-Salem rallies past Pelicans in seventh inning

Winston-Salem rallies past Pelicans in seventh inningVimael Machin's home run was not enough Friday as the [more]

Pelicans fall to familiar foes following blockbuster trade

Pelicans fall to familiar foes following blockbuster tradeIn a game that saw three Myrtle Beach Pelicans relocate [more]

Tigers tap Terry as interim coach pending Jordan case

Tigers tap Terry as interim coach pending Jordan caseLongtime Conway High assistant football coach Carlton Terry has been [more]

Mutiny put finishing touch on near-perfect campaign

Mutiny put finishing touch on near-perfect campaignThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny turned in a perfect ending to [more]

Rucker flirts with no-hitter as Pelicans shut out Dash

Rucker flirts with no-hitter as Pelicans shut out DashMike Rucker twirled seven shutout innings Wednesday to help lead [more]

Ex-Chant Morrison returns to Strand as Dash reliever

Ex-Chant Morrison returns to Strand as Dash relieverFormer Coastal Carolina University right-handed pitcher Mike Morrison returns to [more]

St. James' Knaffle verbally commits to South Carolina

St. James' Knaffle verbally commits to South CarolinaSt. James High golfer Smith Knaffle has had a busy [more]

Lady Chiefs JV coach Smith earns promotion to varsity

Lady Chiefs JV coach Smith earns promotion to varsityThe North Myrtle Beach High girls basketball program knew there [more]

Pelicans come from behind to win seesaw series finale

Pelicans come from behind to win seesaw series finaleZack Short reached base six times and finished a triple [more]

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt preview

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt previewThe Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina announced today that [more]

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squad

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squadCoastal Carolina had only one player named to the 2017 [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach