clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Farewell to Clemson Legend Hunter Renfrow

One of the most beloved players in Clemson history departs after going from walk-on to key starter and national championship hero.

Clemson v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Hunter Renfrow joined Clemson as a walk-on from Myrtle Beach, SC. He was a two-star athlete that chose to walk-on at Clemson rather than take a scholarship offer from Appalachian State.

Renfrow redshirted in 2014 and then earned a scholarship during his 2015 RS freshman campaign:

Playing as the slot receiver, he had 33 receptions across 13 games in that RS freshman season. His season culminated with a career-high 7 receptions in a close loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game.

The following year, Renfrow entered as a bigger part of the offense. Despite missing four games following a week 2 injury against Troy, he increased his reception count from 33 to 44. Those 44 receptions were good for third on the team and included one in every game he played in.

His season once again concluded with him reeling in a career-high in receptions during the National Championship game. This time it was 10 catches for 92 yards and 2 TDs as he terrorized Bama’s secondary for the second year in a row. He even made a TD-saving tackle after a Clemson fumble that kept the Tigers from falling too far behind. This time, his efforts were not in vain. His final catch of the game was enough to put Clemson over the top and bring home their first National Championship since 1981:

It’s the most famous catch in Clemson history. Renfrow’s Clemson story could end here and he’d still be a legend, but there’s even more to his walk-on to National Championship hero story.

He returned for his RS junior year, but it would be played without QB Deshaun Watson who was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Renfrow quickly developed a good rapport with QB Kelly Bryant. Without TE Jordan Leggett, Bryant found Renfrow to be the ideal short-yardage target. Renfrow caught a career-high 60 catches with at least one in all 14 games that season. His 602 receiving yards also marked a career-high. His best games were in week 2 against Auburn when he posted 9 catches for 62 yards and against U of SC where he had 4 catches for 75 yards and 2 TDs including this very memorable play:

Although it was his best statistical year, it ended poorly in the Sugar Bowl as Alabama avenged their National Championship defeat from the year prior, shutting down Clemson’s offense in a decisive victory.

For his final hurrah as a Senior, Hunter Renfrow played in all 15 games, making at least one catch in each of them to total 49 receptions for 544 yards. One play from the season that really sticks out is this 28-yard catch, which came on a desperate 3rd & 8 against Syracuse.

Chase Brice hadn’t found his groove and badly needed a WR to bail him out on this errant throw. The Tigers trailed and needed something positive to begin shifting momentum. This was the start of that and of course they came back to win the game, which would end up determining the Atlantic Division. It is the very type of play that defined Renfrow’s career: clutch, chain-moving, and gritty. Renfrow wasn’t a burner and wasn’t going to beat the defense over-the-top. That wasn’t his game. Rather, he was incredibly agile, had the best hands in the ACC, and came through in critical situations.

For the fourth year in a row, the year’s final game came against Alabama. This time, the result was redemptive as the Tigers blew out the Crimson Tide 44-16, allowing one of the great characters in Clemson lore to go out on top.

Renfow’s Clemson career ended with 186 receptions for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns. His pair of catches in the 2019 National Championship Game allowed him to exit with an active streak of 43 games with a reception - a Clemson record. He also finishes his college career with 19 catches in National Championship games.

Renfrow knew his strengths and leveraged them to become one of the most successful WRs in Clemson history. His story continues in Oakland after being drafted in the 5th round by the Raiders. You can read more about that pick here. We thank Renfrow for all he did in Clemson - not only his clutch catches, but his leadership and positive representation for our community. We wish him well in his new marriage and new career. Thank you Hunter Renfrow!