Renfrow looking for even bigger things this season

clemfoot-13auburnFollowing an unbelievable run to the national championship game in 2015, what could former Socastee High star and Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow possibly do for an encore? How about making the game-winning touchdown catch in the Tigers’ 19-13 season-opening win over Auburn.

Renfrow, a former walk-on who burst on the scene last season for Clemson, was up to is old tricks again in Saturday’s season opener. His 16-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the No. 2 Tigers’ victory. He finished the game with three catches for 27 yards and fit right in with Clemson’s high-powered offense with big-name stars.

“It’s crazy to get in the huddle and see guys like Deshaun (Watson), Jordan (Leggett), Wayne (Gallman), Mike (Williams) and Tay (Artavis Scott) around me and think. `How did I end up here?’ Renfrow said. “To be around not just great football players, but great people as well is truly a blessing.”

While Renfrow is no longer star-struck by the blue-chippers that play beside him, he is more influenced by the family he grew up with in Myrtle Beach. Renfrow credits that foundation for believing in his ability to play at the top level when most college recruiters disagreed about the undersized high school option quarterback.

“I have been very fortunate to be able to learn from two great parents that have pushed me to do my best no matter the situation I am in,” Hunter said of parents Tim and Suzanne Renfrow. His father coached him in football at Socastee, where he was not only one of the top quarterbacks in the region, but also a standout on special teams and defense.

“Hunter was fun to coach in high school mainly because he enjoyed the game,” said Tim Renfrow, currently the athletics director at Socastee. “He learned to lead by example and always worked with a purpose. He was very shifty (on the field) without having to slow down.”

Sister Joy Renfrow is the No. 2 player for the Socastee tennis team and a sophomore at SHS. She is also the ball girl for the Socastee football team. She said that Hunter taught her so many different things from watching him play.

“I’ve always looked up to Hunter as a brother and as an athlete. To see him succeed and give his best all the time, it has motivated me to play my best and do my best in everything I do,” Joy Renfrow said. “It’s been fun to watch him play and get better – both as an athlete, but also as a person in general. He definitely inspired me, and has helped teach me that just because you are overlooked or an underdog, if you work hard you can achieve anything.”

Those aren’t just hollow words as Renfrow has quickly earned national attention by helping the Tigers reach the national title game last season with 33 receptions for 492 yards and five touchdowns. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit named Renfrow the Unsung Hero award for his rapid climb from walk-on to play-maker. Renfrow caught two TD passes in the Tigers loss to Alabama in the national championship game.

“It was the biggest game I had ever played in, and I just tried to focus on the little things that got me to where I was, because the little things make up the big things in life. This takes the pressure out of pressure situations for me,” Renfrow said. “I was not necessarily nervous about the game because there are far greater things in life than this one game.”

Renfrow prides himself on giving his best effort not just in each game, but on every play. He said that it was important for him to get into the weight room to put on size and to increase his strength. He feels that it will help his overall game this season. “I am just trying to get better at blocking and be more of a complete player,” he said.

While Renfrow credits his family and former coach/father, he also has found a bit of an adopted father in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “He makes it fun and we know that he loves us (like we are family),” Renfrow said. “They have pushed me to do my best no matter the situation I am in. His “All In” motto has really resonated with me and allowed me to perform on Saturdays.”

Look for more big things from the small package in Renfrow this season as the Tigers go for a repeat as AC champions and try to take the next step to win it all this time around.

“Well, the number one goal obviously is to be the last team standing at the end of the season, but I would also like to give everything I have and to have no regrets when I look back at the season,” he added.

Photo courtesy of Auburn Athletics

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