Hunter Renfrow led the Socastee Braves football team to two back-to-back playoff bids when he was a junior and senior at the school in 2012 and 2013. He also stood out on the baseball diamond, getting attention from schools like Wofford and Furman.
But Renfrow wanted to play football at Clemson. He passed up some scholarship offers from other programs for a chance to be a recruited walk-on for the Tigers.
He put in his dues on the practice squad last season, grabbing the attention of the Clemson coaching staff and his fellow teammates.
And earlier this year Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney awarded him a scholarship– mirroring Swinney’s own history of being a walk-on who earned a scholarship, albeit at the University of Alabama.
Renfrow’s career so far at Clemson has shown his skills on the field, with 22 receptions totaling 345 yards and two touchdowns.
Most recently, Renfrow collected an onside kick return at the end of the ACC Championship Game. He had performed the same feat earlier in the season, sealing the Tigers’ victory over Florida State.
“He saved the game Saturday night,” said Socastee principal Dr. Paul Browning.
Last week, Renfrow got the opportunity to come home to visit his high school alma mater, where a surprise awaited him.
Socastee was retiring his high school football jersey.
‘It’s the first jersey we’ve ever retired,” said Browning. “Hunter was a stellar athlete in high school in football and baseball.
“He could have been a basketball player,” he continued. “He had a lot of skills in basketball, played JV his first year here, but he gave up basketball for football and baseball.”
The idea for honoring Renfrow came from the top.
“They came to me Monday morning and told me they were going to do it,” Renfrow’s father– and athletic director at Socastee High– Tim Renfrow said. “Dr. Browning made that decision, and they came and told me they were going to do it, and asked if I could get him here.
“I said I’d do it,” he said.
So at the beginning of Socastee’s pep rally before they played nearby St. James High School last Friday, Renfrow walked out onto the basketball court where he had stood many times in high school.
The students cheered from the bleachers, many wearing orange in honor of Renfrow’s new career at Clemson.
Hunter’s family met him on the court as Socastee head football coach Doug Illing, Dr. Browning, and Horry County School District Superintendent Rick Maxey brought out a large picture frame bearing Renfrow’s number 7 jersey.
“I know his family is very proud of him, as are we,” said Maxey at the December meeting of the Horry County School Board. “We look forward to great things in the future for Mr. Renfrow.”
According to his dad, Hunter’s success has thrilled the family.
“He’s been doing a good job,” Tim said. “It’s been a good year, a fun year.”