Clemson University

Hunter Renfrow has to prove himself again during NFL tryouts. He likes his chances

Hunter Renfrow The Underdog, Part 2, was showing all week at the NFL Combine.

The former Clemson wide receiver who went from no-star walk-on to national championship-winning receiver to stalwart on one of the nation’s elite college football teams is back at square one as he tries to begin his professional football career.

“That’s part of my charm, I guess,” Renfrow said at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “I like the measurables charts. I’m like 0 percentile in everything.”

He’s not exaggerating by much. Renfrow was the only wide receiver whose hands measured less than eight inches (7 7/8). He was one of only two whose arms measured less than 30 inches (29 1/4). He was not the lightest receiver at 184 pounds, but he was in the conversation, and only six receivers ran slower than his 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash. His seven repetitions on the 225-pound bench press were the second-fewest of any player at any position.

This has been Renfrow’s story since he signed with the Tigers out of Socastee High School. A recruiting afterthought, he ended his four-year career with 186 catches for 2,133 yards, 15 touchdowns and two national title rings.

Still, he’s going to have to prove himself all over again before April’s NFL Draft. He had another chance Thursday during the Tigers’ Pro Day in Clemson.

The current makeup of NFL offenses, many of which rely heavily on slot receivers, will help Renfrow’s stock.

“A lot of the slot receivers that have had success at this level have been free agents, under-the-radar guys,” Renfrow said. “It’s cool for me to be here and piggyback off those trailblazers and just being able to be in this position. For me it’s having an appreciation for it, that there’s a role in the NFL for slot guys.”

The temptation to link him to the Patriots, who have been especially reliant on smaller slot receivers, has been too great for many to resist. One of the highlights of the NFL Combine for Renfrow was meeting with former Patriots receiver and current San Francisco wide receivers coach Wes Welker.

“I was pinching myself,” Renfrow said. “He’s been a guy who set the NFL on fire and paved the way for us. Julian Edelman is another guy. Adam Humphries. Just consistent players. Emmanuel Sanders has been a good player for the Broncos. Guys that are just reliable and consistent.”

Which is what Renfrow has been throughout his career.

“Coming out of high school, I had dreams of playing in the NFL, but it wasn’t like NFL or bust for me,” he said. “Everything I’ve been able to do has been a blessing and fun. I can go out there and play free because of it.”