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Though recognized more, success has not changed Renfrow

COLUMBIA — Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, the hero of the national championship game, got to bask in the glory for one more afternoon in Columbia on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he and the rest of his teammates begin spring practice, officially flipping the year and starting the 2017 football season.

But spring practice can wait, at least for a few more hours. As for Tuesday, the rising junior soaked up a few more praises and honors from the 2016 National Championship.

Renfrow, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass to beat Alabama in the national championship game on Jan. 9, joined head coach Dabo Swinney, tight end Milan Richard and defensive end Richard Yeargin as part of a special resolution by the South Carolina House of Representatives commemorating the national champions. The South Carolina Department of Transportation also unveiled a new highway sign to honor college football’s national champions on the Statehouse steps.

“Tomorrow we have to get back to the grind, so it was kind of nice to have one more day to kind of celebrate it,” Renfrow said. “We will get back to work tomorrow.”

Clemson Twide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) catches the game winning touchdown against Alabama defensive back Tony Brown (2) during the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Clemson Twide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) catches the game winning touchdown against Alabama defensive back Tony Brown (2) during the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Renfrow admits his life has changed a little since catching the two-yard game-winning pass from Deshaun Watson in the Tigers’ 35-31 over Alabama. He has spent a good bit over the last five weeks signing the cover of the Sports Illustrated issue he appeared on after the game.

“I have definitely perfected my signature a little bit better,” he said jokingly. “Other than that, everything is the same. My girlfriend treats me the same. My family still treats me the same, not much has changed. If you have good people in your life, it doesn’t matter.”

One of those good people was his cousin, Representative Alan Clemmons. He brought Renfrow to the front of the general assembly and bragged about his parents and how strong Renfrow is in his faith and what a good role model he is for all the young people in the state of South Carolina.

“I did not know he was going to do that,” Renfrow said. “That was really cool. He had some great words. I just respect him a lot. I really appreciated that.”

Renfrow, who played high school football for his father, Tim, at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, caught a career-high 10 passes for 92 yards and again scored two touchdowns against the Crimson Tide. He caught seven passes for 88 yards and two more scores in the 2016 National Championship Game against Alabama.

Despite doing all of those things, Renfrow is still having issues with being recognized as Hunter Renfrow. Because he is only 5-foot-10 and weighs 175 pounds, fans don’t think he is a football player, especially one that plays for the reigning national champions.

When he walked into the Statehouse on Tuesday, someone thought he was placekicker Greg Huegel.

“I still get a little bit of that,” Renfrow said, “but around Clemson it is pretty good.”

The Clemson wide receiver said these days he is recognized more as the guy that caught the winning touchdown in the national championship game than people who don’t recognize him at all. He said either way, he is okay with it all.

“Things have changed a little more because we won,” Renfrow said smiling. “I’m definitely getting a lot more recognition. It’s not every day you get to come to the Statehouse and have eight microphones in your face. So that stuff has changed. At the same time, I have a good support group around me and our coaches to a great job of creating a culture of leadership and success so we are getting ready to go back to work tomorrow.”

 

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