Two months ago today, Hunter Renfrow made the most important two-yard catch in the history of Clemson Football.
His two-yard touchdown reception from Deshaun Watson with one second to play against Alabama in the National Championship Game lifted the Tigers to a 35-31 come-from-behind victory, returning the national championship back to Clemson for the first time in 35 years.
In the two months since that day, Renfrow has signed more than 2,000 copies of the Sports Illustrated cover which has him pictorialized forever grabbing the game-winning catch. When he is seen around Clemson, some people have even gotten out of their cars with a copy of the magazine in hand so they can get his autograph.
“I’m a lot more appreciative that I caught the ball than I would be if dropped it,” Renfrow said jokingly. “I’m glad I caught the ball and we scored.”
Renfrow’s new celebrity has been an adjustment for the Myrtle Beach native. When he walked onto the team two years ago and eventually became a starter, no one even knew who he was. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, his own classmates did not believe he was the No. 13 they saw running around and catching all the passes on Frank Howard Field.
His own head coach, Dabo Swinney, has even joked about how Renfrow looks more like one of the team managers instead of a player.
“If you lined him up with all the team managers and I asked you which one was Hunter, you would not be able to guess,” Swinney said with a big grin.
Now everyone from Clemson to Myrtle Beach knows who he is. The people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., definitely know who he is after what he has done against their Crimson Tide the last two years.
“I get the question, ‘Can I put into words what it has been like?’ and I really can’t,” Renfrow said. “It is just an experience you have dreamed about your whole life. It is why you go to work and why you practice every day. It is something you get to share with your teammates.
“Unless you have played on a sports team, you don’t really realize what it means to so many people and your brothers in the locker room.”
Renfrow says the Sports Illustrated cover has allowed him to perfect his signature while meeting a lot of new people. It’s an experience he would not trade for anything.
The craziest thing he has had to sign was a drink holder that a fan stole from Raymond James Stadium and brought back to Clemson.
“I signed it so that is a pretty cool memorabilia,” the Tigers’ wide receiver said.
Renfrow is a lot more confident these days then he was this time two years ago, but he insists that it is not because he caught the winning touchdown in the national championship game. Instead, it’s the fact he has worked hard to get where he is and he believes in his abilities because of all the hard work he has put in.
“The real confidence comes from practice,” he said. “What you do in practice, what you do in the weight room and what you do in the off-season … the separation is in the preparation. I have a little more confidence than I did two years ago at this time when I was a walk on.
“It comes from the preparation. It is not necessarily because I can do it in games. It’s knowing I can do it in practice going against our defense.”
—Photo Credit: Dawson Powers
We are taking orders for our limited edition magazine Mission Accomplished. Remember Clemson’s championship season with this great magazine from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year. Order your’s today to make sure you get a copy!