DeShaun Watson, who delivered the game-winning touchdown pass Monday in Clemson’s national championship upset of Alabama, was a top-20 recruit out of high school, a can’t-miss prospect with a sky-high ceiling.
The player who caught that pass had quite the different story.
That’d be Hunter Renfrow, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore who wasn’t even on Clemson’s radar two years ago. Here’s where Renfrow stood at the end of high school:
Renfrow was close to going to Appalachian State, but Clemson offered him a “preferred walk-on” spot, according to the Charlotte Observer. That meant he wouldn’t get a scholarship up front, but he’d have the chance to earn one.
Renfrow took the gamble, and in August 2015, it paid off when Swinney awarded the skinny wideout literally the team’s final scholarship. Fortunately, the school caught the moment on camera. (Renfrow’s moment starts at the 1:40 mark.)
Incredibly, Renfrow was overshadowed even in above video, which focuses more on punter Andy Teasdall. Swinney also joked that Renfrow “damn sure don’t look like a football player.”
Turns out appearances mean nothing, as Renfrow racked up 492 receiving yards and five touchdowns during a breakout freshman season. After Monday’s showing, he has four TD receptions in the Tigers’ two national championship appearances.
“It’s like I got knocked out in the third quarter and this was all a dream,” Renfrow said Tuesday, via the Charlotte Observer, when asked to describe Monday’s game.
Clemson is very happy it’s a reality.
Thumbnail photo Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images