Top-ranked Clemson’s success on the field has made plenty of headlines in recent years with a pair of national championships and a historic run of dominance in the ACC.
But players and others within the program have been able to achieve personal and professional goals off the field with equally unparalleled success thanks to the program’s P.A.W Journey initiative.
P.A.W. Journey exists to develop Clemson football student-athletes by tapping into their personal ambitions to develop individuals who are ready to pursue their dreams when the final whistle blows on their football careers.
Redshirt senior Darien Rencher entered the program at the inception of P.A.W. Journey at the Allen Reeves Football Complex and raved about its impact on his ambitions and ability to achieve his dreams.
“I’ve seen guys really be able to pursue their dreams when usually in our case we have to wait until football is over to do that,” Rencher said. “They have come alongside us while we are still in our football dream to pursue other dreams.”
Rencher interned with the National Football League office in New York in the summer of 2019. Other players have interned at Adobe, Cisco and even taken service trips overseas.
The running back entered Clemson as a walk-on and has taken full advantage of P.A.W. Journey to set him up for future success. Rencher wishes his friends at other schools were offered a similar program to assist in their personal growth.
“My experience has been very rare compared to my friends that play at other schools because we really have been able to use football to set us up for future success,” he said. “If people don’t have it at other schools don’t have something like P.A.W. Journey they should really get one.”
Defensive end K.J. Henry feels the program has helped exponentially in allowing players to understand they have more to offer in life than their talent between the lines.
“We know our notoriety comes from what we do on Saturday’s when we put our pads on. In P.A.W. Journey we know there is more to us than football and some guys don’t understand that because they are such great talents, but don’t know what their next calling in life is,” Henry said. “P.A.W Journey talks a lot about that in our fourth quarter and what happens after football.”
Clemson returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Boston College at noon.