Q&A with Tim Renfrow, father of Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow /

Tim Renfrow, the father of Clemson football receiver Hunter Renfrow, is used to watching his son succeed, and he is hoping to see him and the No. 1 Tigers beat No. 4 Alabama in the AllState Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2018.

Renfrow is the Athletic Director at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, SC and coached Hunter for three years. In 2012, his final season as Hunter’s coach, Socastee finished the season with a school best 12-1 record.

He will be headed to Louisiana on Saturday.

Have you been to New Orleans?

Tim Renfrow: Yes, it’s been about 30 years. As a teacher, we took some kids on a high school trip.

It’s been another year, well, it has been another successful year for Hunter and his teammates. And he has been an integral part of the most successful era in Clemson football history. Have you thought about that and what comes to mind when you do think about it?

TR: It has been a good year. A lot of people didn’t think that they would be as good this year. But they have had a really good year and some good leadership. Hunter has been more of a leader this year, because he’s one of the older ones now. It’s been a lot of fun and just a good year for them. I think they surpassed a lot of people’s expectations. Now, they are right in the final four and so they have just as good a shot as anybody.

“You could’ve dropped that pass last year, and you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this stuff.” 

You kind of touched on my next question. Has he talked about being one of the older receivers and what it has meant for him and the other receivers?

TR: Over the year, we just talked a little bit about it. He has to mentor some of the youngest kids like Adam Humphries, Charone Peake and some of those guys did for him, when he was young. He understands that, accepts it and that’s the way it should happen.

You coached Hunter for three years albeit, as a quarterback at Socastee. From a coaches’ perspective, what improvements have you seen in his game this year?

TR: I think the biggest is just, because he didn’t play receiver. The more he plays, the more he becomes confident in what he’s doing and with their offense, even though he’s been in it for three years now.

What is the best part about being a parent of a successful player on one of the best teams in college football?

TR: You always want your kids to be successful. I think he feels like he’s been successful and been able to contribute. I think that is what he wanted to do more than anything when he went to Clemson. He also wanted to prove to himself, as well as, to other people that he could play at that level. And just feel good about contributing to the team. He has done that. That’s the biggest thing. He just wants to be a part of and contribute to a team effort.

Hunter is one of the most recognized players in college football over the last three years. Now, I know he is naturally a quiet person, so do you think he has started to accept and embrace his popularity?

TR: Coach Swinney and the coaches do a good job of helping the players with that stuff. They just got him and the kids to understand that with the hype and notoriety, comes some responsibility. So I think he has become more and more responsible that this is part of it, and I got to accept it. But be humble and be thankful of where I am. We always pick at him and say. You could’ve dropped that pass last year, and you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this stuff. I think more than anything. He has accepted the responsibility with the notoriety and being known.

What must happen for Clemson to beat Alabama?

TR: First, they better come to play, and I’m sure they will. I think if they go in there and not turn the ball over, then they have a good chance to win. I think the biggest thing is they have to be sharp, execute and hold onto the ball. Alabama knows how to win.

Hunter has really been a thorn in the side of the Alabama secondary and has definitely earned the respect of their players. Does he have any interactions with the Bama players off the field? 

TR: I know he has a lot of respect for Fitzpatrick. I don’t know if they have talked some, but I know he thinks a lot of Minkah and thinks that he’s great and a very strong Christian kid. He has a lot of respect for Minkah. But as far as having any interactions with any of the other kids, I don’t think so.

He is eligible for the NFL Draft. In your opinion, is he thinking about the NFL?

TR: I think that’s something that once he graduates from Clemson, he would definitely love to do. Right now, he just wants to enjoy his time at Clemson and to continue to have that college experience. So I don’t think he dwells on it a lot, right now. But I think he would love to one day.

Two years ago, I asked you what you thought about Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney. Two years later, what do you think about them?

TR: Nothing changed, except it’s probably gotten better. I just love the culture, love the person that he is. A lot of people think that he’s not real, but he’s exactly who people see on TV. He just loves the kids and he’s much more concerned about the kids and their future than he is about football. Now, he does love to win, there is no doubt.

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His whole thing is doing a great job of preparing those kids for what happens after football. And I think that’s what he loves most about coaching. Dabo and his whole staff, they just do an excellent job of that and because they do that-the kids love it and love playing for him. Plus, they recruit such good kids and all of that makes them successful.