CLEMSON — Hunter Renfrow ran down The Hill for Clemson's ACC game against Duke at Death Valley on Saturday night and entered the field to quite possibly the loudest ovation the wide receiver has ever received.
About an hour later, he left it to near silence as 80,000-plus fans held their breath while he was helped off the field.
Renfrow's Senior Day at Clemson — one that was five years in the making for the national championship hero — was cut short when the fifth-year senior dove for a catch in the second quarter and landed face first.
Hunter Renfrow’s Senior Day reception pic.twitter.com/8BI4atssVX— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) November 18, 2018
The stadium fell quiet as trainers rushed to his aid and all eyes looked to Renfrow to move. Once he finally did, the star from Myrtle Beach needed assistance to both walk off the field and make his way into the locker room. At the half, Clemson announced Renfrow was out for the remainder of the game. In his postgame press conference, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Renfrow looked good in the locker room, but was under evaluation.
"Nothing specific, but he was good in the locker room and all that," Swinney said. "But they'll evaluate him and let me know (Sunday)."
Renfrow, who will go down in Clemson history as one of the most beloved and one of the most prolific receivers to play for coach Dabo Swinney, broke the Tigers' program record for catches in consecutive games before he was injured. With a 7-yard snag in the first quarter, he caught a pass for the 39th straight game to break the record previously held by Clemson receiver Artavis Scott.
How Renfrow recovers this week will be one of the biggest storylines at Clemson as the Tigers head into rivalry week with South Carolina coming to town. Clemson has already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship and is continuing to make its College Football Playoff berth, but Renfrow is a major contributor the Tigers will want back as soon as possible.
To Clemson's delight, in their questioning of Renfrow, coaches and staff asked him one major question he did know the answer to.
"We think he's OK," Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. "He still knows what day he's getting marred in April."
"His wife, Cami, will be happy to know," Swinney followed.
Swinney was upset from both a competitive and a personal standpoint to see Renfrow make an early exit, particularly on this night with all he has done for the program.
"(In Renfrow), you’ve got a smart, savvy football player that you can count on. Just incredibly consistent day in and day out. He’s a great example to his teammates as far as how he prepares and and practices. So consistent in what he does. There’s no greater teacher than experience," Swinney said this season.
"He’s always been a young person that’s very wise and focused on what he wants to do in life. He’s always had such a great perspective of life since the day he got here, but I think the biggest thing is he’s so much more confident as he’s had success, as he’s developed physically. He was a 155-pound kid when he came here and weak as a noodle. Now he’s 182 or so and has gotten stronger and just so much success to go with it."