Clemson football only had two players drafted in the recent 2022 NFL Draft, but several Tigers have since signed free agent deals and a couple more have earned mini-camp invites.
Even for Clemson basketball player Naz Bohannon, who only spent one season in Tiger Town, is getting his shot with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Now comes word that former Tiger running back Darien Rencher is getting a mini-camp invite from the Carolina Panthers.
Mini-camp invites give players like Rencher and Bohannon a shot, but are not the same as free agent contracts.
Undrafted free agents have signed contracts which represents a second tier of investment by the respective team. In the rookie pecking order they are more of a priority than a camp invite.
So, in essence the camp invites are third in the pecking order behind draft picks and undrafted free agents.
The odds are long that a mini-camp invite will eventually make a team, but players like Rencher, with something to prove are more than happy to take the opportunity as there are some perks in addition to being part of an NFL team, at least for a while, especially if they make it through to a preseason training camp.
All players at minicamp receive team-provided food, lodging and a per diem. During preseason training camp according to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, first year players receive $1,700 per week and veterans receive $2,900 per week in per diem.
Just how long are the odds of a mini-camp player making the team?
The rookie minicamps will feature a mix of 40-60 players who are draft picks, undrafted free agents and other tryout players. The players there on a try out will need to do something impressive and do it quickly to stand out. The minicamps are only running for two to three-days. No two teams will conduct transactions the same way but generally 15-20 guys might get invited to camp and a couple of the invites might sign free agent deals when it’s over.
Rencher strikes me as someone not worried about the odds, but rather is focused on the moment and thankful for the opportunity, so it’s a milestone for an unheralded player such as Rencher.
How many of us can say we were invited to an NFL mini-camp?
Rencher played for Clemson from 2017-2021 and compiled 93 rushes for 437 yards with 3 touchdowns, while catching 9 passes for 45 yards.