Hunter Renfrow is having a career year for the Las Vegas Raiders in his third NFL season, and Renfrow’s breakout campaign certainly isn’t going unappreciated by his quarterback.
Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr showed a lot of love to Renfrow this past week and praised his slot receiver during a press conference.
Entering Week 14, Renfrow led the Raiders in receptions (73), receiving yards (760) and receiving touchdowns (four) in 12 games. On Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, he notched a new single-game career high in catches (13) and tallied 117 receiving yards with a touchdown.
Carr credited the chemistry and camaraderie he has with Renfrow as keys to why they have been able to connect so well and often.
“I’m not surprised, at all,” Carr said of Renfrow’s performance in 2021. “I think Hunter and I have spent more time together than any receiver I’ve ever had — on the field, off the field. FaceTiming him… Literally yesterday, just putting up my phone and saying hey, we’ve got these plays in, and watching the cutup with him. While he’s at his house, we’re watching it. I’m at my house watching it and showing him what I see and all this kind of stuff.
“So, just the level of communication that we have, it’s very high-level. It’s one (thing) for me to go to him, or to a receiver, and be like, ‘Hey, I need you to do it just like this.’ And it’s another thing for him to say OK and actually see it the same way on the field and do it. And he does it exactly how I need him to do it. And so, the trust is super high, and the execution. It’s one thing to do it, but I’m throwing it and he’s making great plays.”
This season, Renfrow has already recorded career highs in catches and receiving yards while tying his career high in touchdown receptions.
One of Renfrow’s skills that Carr is most impressed by is his ability to pick up yards after a catch. Renfrow’s 342 yards after catch ranked 19th in the NFL entering Week 14.
“I think he’s the best after the catch in the NFL, if not one of the best,” Carr said. “I think the first guy always misses and he’s super hard to tackle, so you always want to get the ball in his hands.”
An original walk-on at Clemson who eventually earned a scholarship, Renfrow put together one of the most unlikely yet storied careers in Clemson history, finishing his college career with 186 receptions for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns over 55 games.
After being drafted by the Raiders in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft, Renfrow totaled 49 receptions for 605 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie in 2019. Last season, he hauled in 56 catches and 656 yards, adding two touchdowns.
Carr isn’t the least bit surprised that Renfrow has become the team’s top receiving target this season.
“To see him emerging as that guy, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Carr said. “Maybe if someone looks at a picture of him, it may surprise him. Or if he walks in a room, you’d be a little shocked that it’s him. But I think that’s the beautiful thing about him is that he’s always felt that way, carried that chip on his shoulder and worked his tail off.
“Everyone’s going to say he’s a hard worker and he’s super smart, but he doesn’t get enough credit for how talented he is. He’s also a very good football player, from a talent perspective. So, he creates separation, and as a quarterback, if you can create separation and see it the way that I see it… While all these guys are rushing, I need you to be able to see it the way I see it, and if you don’t, it usually leads to bad things. He’s a guy that sees it the way that I see it, and it’s led to a lot of production for him.”
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