As the profile of the Clemson Tigers football program has risen over the years, so has the caliber of its star players. In the last few years, there has been no shortage of talented receivers. The most clutch of the Clemson pass catchers in recent years may surprise you. A slew of four- and five-star playmakers have caught passes from both Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson. However, years from now when people look back on this run of success, they may be surprised to see whose name is linked with the biggest catch in school history. That honor goes to former two-star recruit Hunter Renfrow.
His catch on a rub route inside the five-yard line to beat Alabama will never be forgotten. It is quite possibly the biggest play in Clemson’s history. Renfrow ran a quick out and got free at the goal line as Watson hit him for the game winning touchdown. Big names like Sammy Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Williams, and Martavis Bryant have all played for Clemson and went on the NFL success. However, it is the former walk-on Hunter Renfrow whose name will always be linked with that catch.
From Unknown Walk-on To Clutch Hero
The junior from Myrtle Beach, SC wasn’t all over recruiting sites as a top prospect. He turned down scholarships offers from FCS schools to attend Clemson and attempt to walk on. While redshirting in 2014, he was able to add twenty pounds to his slight frame. Hunter started ten games as a redshirt-freshman at the slot position. He finished the season with 492 yards and five touchdowns. Two of those scores came in the 2016 National Championship game loss to Alabama.
As a sophomore, he battled injuries and only played in nine games. He caught 44 passes for 495 yards and six scores including the title winner. Usually working at the slot position, his quickness and sure hands made him a security blanket for Deshaun Watson. Renfrow was often the target on third downs. His reliability made him an easy choice to look to in the clutch. He also saved his best performances for the biggest moments possible. In four career College Football Playoff games, he has 26 catches, 289 yards and five touchdowns.
Renfrow is now the elder statesmen of this Clemson offense. He is in his fourth year in the program. Even now there are bigger names lining up beside him in orange. Deon Cain and Ray Ray McCloud were more touted as playmakers as recruits for Clemson. However, it’s the 5’10”, 176 pound wideout leads the defending champs in receptions through the first half of this season. He has 29 catches and 282 yards, and is still showcasing his ability to make clutch plays in big moments. He had nine receptions for 133 yards combined against Auburn and Louisville, the Tigers two biggest wins to date.
Renfrow has yet to find the end zone this season, but he may just be waiting for the stage to get bigger. If Clemson is in need of a clutch play to keep a drive going, or get a score late, you had better focus on wear the diminutive number 13 in orange is lined up.