Hunter Renfrow Named One of the Best Walk Ons in NCAA History

Zach Lentz

The NCAA has released their list of the 13 best walk ons in the history of college football and one name should come as no surprise to Clemson Tiger fans—Hunter Renfrow.

"Renfrow's mother and brother attended Clemson and the dream of following in their footsteps was deeply sought after," Katherine Write wrote. "With offers from Appalachian State, Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian and Wofford, he declined the only football and baseball offers he had, which were of FCS affiliation, and walked on at Clemson. His 5-foot-10 and 155-pound frame deterred other suitors, but by redshirting his freshman season, he gained 26 pounds and earned the scholarship he so desired.

"Renfrow started 10 of the 13 games as a redshirt freshman and caught passes for 492 yards and five touchdowns. One year later, he scored two touchdowns in the 2016 CFP National Championship, though the Tigers fell 45-40 to Alabama.

"The fairy tale didn't stop there. He went on to catch the game-winning touchdown in the 2017 CFP National Championship. By December 2018, he earned the Burlsworth Trophy, one month before he and the Tigers scorched Alabama 44-16 for the program's third national title and second in three years.

"The Oakland Raiders saw a potential future in the wide receiver and drafted him in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft."

The former Tiger finished his career in spectacular fashion, but, according to Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, he was not always the Superman that Tiger fans remember—in fact he was a little more Clark Kent.

“The thing with Hunter is, you know, he was 150 pounds. He was athletic, but he was weak,” Swinney said. “He literally, literally benched 125 pounds when he came to Clemson. He’s a three-sport athlete, he was never in the weight room, you know he was always twitchy and fast, but never in a million years would you think he’s a football player if you just walked up. Sometimes we get blinded by how people look, we judge that book by its cover, but the game of football, if it was just about size and strength and running fast, we’d just go over to the track and sign everybody. The game of football, you still have to be a football player. That’s one of the key things in our evaluation is: Is he a football player? You can’t just look the part. You’ve got to be able to play the part. Hunter is one of those guys. We didn’t offer him a scholarship, but we certainly recruited him as a preferred walk-on because we saw some potential.”

“Football players come in all shapes and sizes — they really do — at the end of the day you got to be able to play between the lines, and he is the epitome of that, for sure,” Swinney said. “When he puts that helmet on I don’t know what happens, he becomes Superman. It’s like Clark Kent taking his glasses off or something. He just has a gift to be able to play the game, and he’s still not anywhere close to a finished product.”

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