Hunter Renfrow shared that advice, which he received his father, with the children at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home.
“And that’s why I love Coach (Dabo) Swinney,” Renfrow said. “Because he has fun. And he almost has too much fun,” he added to laughter from the crowd.
The former Clemson football player and newly minted Oakland Raider shared his story on Tuesday with children at the Greenwood-based orphanage, while taking questions and signing shirts, posters and the occasional arm.
Renfrow recalled his disappointment at realizing his childhood dream of being offered a full ride to play football at Clemson wouldn’t come to pass.
“I just wasn’t big enough,” he recalled. “I was only 150 pounds.”
Instead, he had to earn his spot on the team. The walk-on eventually played an instrumental role in the team’s 2017 national title, catching the game-winning touchdown pass.
“You don’t want to be given anything,” he told a group of elementary school-aged children in Connie Maxwell’s gym. “You want to earn it every day.”
Connie Maxwell trustee Roger Troutman brought Renfrow to campus. A fundraiser for Clemson’s student affairs office invited people to bid for a dinner with Renfrow. When Troutman won, he asked Renfrow whether he would, instead, speak to the children at Connie Maxwell.
Renfrow told the group of students and a smattering of adults that his father wouldn’t let him play organized football until the sixth grade so he wouldn’t burn out early on, how he considered playing baseball instead of football at the college level, and giving his life to Christ when he was 7 years old.
His wife, Camilla, also answered a few questions. She said they were talking before the NFL draft about the cities they might soon call home. They both agreed, half-joking, they didn’t want to end up in Oakland, on the other side of the country.
“Sure enough, we’re sitting there on draft day,” she said, “and the phone rings, and it was a California number.”
On their way to California, wives of her husband’s future teammates reached out to Camilla on Instagram to offer their support.
“As soon as we got out there, we got plugged into a great church,” she said. “It was funny because at first it was the one place we didn’t want to go, but now it’s become such a blessing and we’re enjoying it.”
Some of Renfrow’s most interesting questions came from the kids. One asked if Renfrow has played against a team besides Clemson.
“Yes,” he said. “But I can tell you, we did play Clemson every day — in practice.”
He asked the kid whether there were any other teams he likes. The Gamecocks, he said.
“We played the Gamecocks,” Renfrow said.
“Did you win?” the boy asked. Renfrow smiled again.
“We did win.”