WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Clemson lost to Alabama in the 2016 National Championship Game, Hunter Renfrow remembers feeling how bad it sucked the Tigers lost the game, but he also thought to himself, “Man! We don’t get to go to the White House. That sucks too!”
So one of the things that motivated the Tigers in winning the 2016 National Championship was the opportunity to get to go the White House and meet the President of the United States. That’s something the entire Clemson football team got to do on Monday.
“It was a good consequence for us to be able come here and enjoy the day,” Renfrow said.
Renfrow, along with Deshaun Watson, Christian Wilkins, Taylor Hearn, Ben Boulware, Carlos Watkins, Dabo Swinney, Kathleen Swinney, Dan Radakovich, Marcie Radakovich, President Jim Clements and Beth Clements all joined President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in the White House.
“It was pretty sweet,” Renfrow said. “They took our phones … We got to go in there and shake his hand and really just talk. He is a nice guy. I really enjoyed it lot.”
Renfrow, the hero of the Tigers’ national championship win over Alabama, was not the only guy that enjoyed himself on Monday.
When President Trump spoke about how Clemson persevered in the final minutes to beat Alabama to prove what kind of champion they were. He also bragged about Swinney and his coaching staff, as well as Clemson’s academics, citing Clemson as a top 25 university on the academic side as well.
“Best is the Standard,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “To see it come to life last year in the locker room in Arizona, after we were beat. To see these guys battle back and knowing everything that was going to come their way, to have a target on their back and to see them sacrifice and to do the little things right, like Coach Swinney said in the speech, ‘do the common things in an uncommon way’ and to be celebrated for it was pretty cool.”
It was even cooler for President Clements, who said he made memories he will cherish for the rest of his life. One of those memories was being able to deliver a speech to the pro Clemson crowd that packed the South Lawn of the White House with the team behind him on the steps of the White House.
“That was cool,” Clements said. “That was really cool. It was awesome. You know what the thing was, was right behind me was the players that made that happen and the coaches that made that happen. So for me to get to represent them was really special.”
It was a special day for the Tigers. One they will never forget, even if they win another national championship in the future.
“It was awesome,” Swinney said. “It has been a great day. Just having our team back together one more time and getting the chance to get to see some of the guys that have graduated or moved on to the NFL or whatever, getting the team back together in one spot … what a unique experience.”