The Virginia Tech week capped off a whirlwind five days for Clemson running back Darien Rencher.
Earlier in the week, the senior was named the recipient of the Disney Spirit Award, which recognizes the most inspirational figure in college football. Rencher then had even more to celebrate in the Tigers’ win over Virginia Tech the following Saturday.
In his first and only touch of the game, Rencher took the ball for a 50-yard ride to the end zone, his third career touchdown and longest run of his Clemson career.
“Anytime you put a lot of work and effort into something, you obviously want to see some return on your investment as far as the football piece goes,” Rencher said. “And just to think like all those emotions I had the previous week and then to just be blessed unexpectedly with the award and obviously the touchdown this past weekend was just incredible.”
For Rencher, receiving the Disney Spirit Award and rushing for his longest career touchdown all in one week was the culmination of moments, both big and small, and he would not have his Clemson story written any other way.
“I really feel like it couldn’t have been written any better like even if I tried to write it,” the Anderson-native said. “God kinda orchestrated everything really perfectly and I’ve just been really overwhelmed, joyful, and just thankful for everything that’s happened the past couple of days. It really was like a story book, movie script type week and I couldn’t have imagined it happening any better.”
Clemson’s running back group also had a very impressive showing against the Hokies. In addition to Rencher’s 50-yard touchdown, junior Lyn-J Dixon added a 19-yard touchdown to his name and sophomore Chez Mellusi contributed with 44 rushing yards.
“I think it’s encouraging and it’s also giving all of us a boost in our confidence, because, obviously, we play behind not even arguably one of the best backs to ever play in the ACC [in Travis Etienne],” Rencher said. “We root him on. We cheer him on, and he wants to see us succeed, so it really is cool to see all of us kind of getting the fruits of our labor.
“Being a back-up sometimes can be discouraging, but it’s also really encouraging when you get in there, you’re able to make some plays and you’re just able to show your coaches, show the world that we’ve got a lot of depth at the running back position. I think it’s encouraging now, but it’s also encouraging for the future for the years to come.”
The third-ranked Tigers will take the field next Saturday, as they will be making a record sixth straight appearance in the ACC Championship Game in a rematch with No. 2 Notre Dame. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m., at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.