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

Chants go down swinging, await word on at-large bid

Chants go down swinging, await word on at-large bidTop-seeded Coastal Carolina battled back from two four-run deficits (once [more]

Mudcats handcuff Pelicans, leapfrog into second place

Mudcats handcuff Pelicans, leapfrog into second placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans bats mustered just four hits in [more]

Hopkins' three-run homer sends Gamecocks to semis

Hopkins' three-run homer sends Gamecocks to semisTJ Hopkins' pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the [more]

Tigers' fate rests in NCAA's hands after loss to Virginia

Tigers' fate rests in NCAA's hands after loss to VirginiaNo. 10 Virginia scored eight runs in the first inning [more]

Five CCU football players claim All-Sun Belt honors

Five CCU football players claim All-Sun Belt honorsAthlon Magazine has named five members of the Coastal Carolina [more]

Pelicans rally late to sweep past Dash in doubleheader

Pelicans rally late to sweep past Dash in doubleheaderAndruw Monasterio hit a walk-off to help the Pelicans win [more]

Pelicans' record inning nets 11 runs in first to cap sweep

Pelicans' record inning nets 11 runs in first to cap sweepEloy Jimenez highlighted a team-record 11-run first inning with a [more]

Gamecocks still alive in SEC with big win over Missouri

Gamecocks still alive in SEC with big win over MissouriCarlos Cortes tied a single-game SEC Tournament record with both [more]

Sun Belt changes tourney format to single elimination

Sun Belt changes tourney format to single eliminationCoastal Carolina's postseason quest to repeat as national champions is [more]

Gamecocks down to final out after loss to Wildcats

Gamecocks down to final out after loss to WildcatsSouth Carolina raced out to a 2-0 lead in the [more]

NBA decides to award 2019 All-Star Game to Charlotte

NBA decides to award 2019 All-Star Game to CharlotteTalk about a long bathroom break ... the NBA announced [more]

Sun Belt's football format, tourney sites announced

Sun Belt's football format, tourney sites announcedThe Coastal Carolina football team will compete in the newly [more]

Tigers' slide continues with loss to Duke in ACC opener

Tigers' slide continues with loss to Duke in ACC openerMichael Smiciklas' check-swing, run-scoring double in the eighth inning broke [more]

Gamecocks keep season alive with first-round win

Gamecocks keep season alive with first-round winNo. 11 seed South Carolina needed a win in the [more]

Pelicans get chance to hold Cubs' World Series Trophy

Pelicans get chance to hold Cubs' World Series TrophyThe Chicago Cubs waited 108 years to hoist the World [more]

Labor Day tradition to roll on at Darlington Raceway

Labor Day tradition to roll on at Darlington RacewayIt appears that Darlington Raceway and Labor Day weekend date [more]

Chants carry momentum, awards into tournament

Chants carry momentum, awards into tournament Coastal Carolina's Billy Cooke, who led the league in three [more]

Pelicans use back-to-back homers to blast past Salem

Pelicans use back-to-back homers to blast past SalemAdbert Alzolay yielded just one hit in six dominant innings [more]

Chants honor seniors, win division title and top seed

Chants honor seniors, win division title and top seedFor the third consecutive weekend, Coastal Carolina swept its league [more]

Jimenez homers again but Pelicans continue to slump

Jimenez homers again but Pelicans continue to slump Eloy Jimenez, the top-rated prospect in the Chicago Cubs' organization, [more]

St. James' Gross leads local list of all-state, all-star picks

St. James' Gross leads local list of all-state, all-star picksSt. James senior softball player Dominique Gross turned a different [more]

Chants leap into first place, can win division title today

Chants leap into first place, can win division title todayAndrew Beckwith improved to 8-1 for the season – 8-0 [more]

Pelicans blow lead in ninth, falter in extras to Red Sox

Pelicans blow lead in ninth, falter in extras to Red SoxThree Salem runs in the ninth and one more in [more]

Bell one of nine Seahawks to sign to play at next level

Bell one of nine Seahawks to sign to play at next levelKira Bell became the third Myrtle Beach High girls basketball [more]

Coastal's Hansen captures Sun Belt golfer of the year

Coastal's Hansen captures Sun Belt golfer of the yearCoastal Carolina junior Malene Krolboll Hansen was named the 2017 [more]

Chants go down swinging, await word on at-large bid

Chants go down swinging, await word on at-large bidTop-seeded Coastal Carolina battled back from two four-run deficits (once [more]

Mudcats handcuff Pelicans, leapfrog into second place

Mudcats handcuff Pelicans, leapfrog into second placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans bats mustered just four hits in [more]

Comments are closed.

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