ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Coach Jon Gruden has already altered one aspect of rookie minicamp for the Oakland Raiders based on what the team did in the draft.
Onetime Clemson walk-on Renfrow sees last time in spotlight
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Hunter Renfrow is not sure even he would believe his story if he read it somewhere: The smallish, walk-on receiver overlooked by nearly everyone becomes the biggest man on campus with his catch to win a national championship.
Renfrow is even marrying the homecoming queen.
"I mean, it's perfect," Renfrow said with a smile. "But it was a lot of work."
Clemson WR Renfrow wins Burslworth Trophy, honoring walk-ons
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow has won the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the top college football who began his career as a walk-on.
Renfrow was chosen over finalists California running back Patrick Laird and Wyoming safety Marcus Epps.
Seniors, No. 2 Clemson seeking more milestones against Duke
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — While Clemson coach Dabo Swinney feels like this season has gone by quickly, his time with his record-setting seniors probably has slipped by even faster.
Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC) looks to complete a perfect run through the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season when it faces Duke (7-3, 3-3) on Saturday night.
Swinney: Clemson QB Lawrence will play at Wake Forest
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says injured quarterback Trevor Lawrence will play against Wake Forest.
Lawrence missed the second half of fourth-ranked Clemson's 27-23 win over Syracuse last week after taking a hard hit right before halftime.
At first Swinney said Lawrence had concussion-like symptoms. On Monday, coaches said Lawrence's injury was more of a neck strain.
Hunter Renfrow can't walk anywhere around Clemson without the same topic quickly coming up: What's happening at quarterback?
"It's all people want to know about, all the time," said the Tigers' senior receiver.
That's an odd situation for Clemson given it returns a starter in Kelly Bryant who led the team to 12 wins, its third straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and another spot in the College Football Playoff.
Column: Racial stereotypes diminish Renfrow-Fitzpatrick duel
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sure, Hunter Renfrow is smart and hard-working.
He's also an amazing athlete.
Without a doubt, Minkah Fitzpatrick has some enormous physical skills.
He's also a thoughtful student of the game.
The key Sugar Bowl matchup — Clemson's big-play receiver vs. Alabama's do-everything defensive back — is also an apt reminder of how racially tinged stereotypes diminish players of all shapes, sizes and colors.
QBs Bryant and Hurts run, pass their way to Sugar Bowl
Jalen Hurts never has to look far for a reminder of the national championship game loss to Clemson.
No. 4 Alabama's quarterback only needs to turn on his phone, which sports a photo of him walking off the field afterward.
"As many times as I open up my phone, I don't look at it like, 'Dang, I lost to Clemson.' I don't do that every time," Hurts said. "But it's definitely there, it's definitely a motivating factor and it's always been."
Sapakoff: Fixes for bad student fan behavior at South Carolina, and Clemson
Clemson players immediately set the tone for Clemson’s 34-10 victory Saturday night. As South Carolina fans jumped around whipping white towels during the traditional “Sandstorm” blast before the Williams-Brice Stadium opening kickoff, the Tigers were waving their own white towels on the sideline. They wanted a louder version.
Bryant leads No. 4 Clemson to 34-10 win over Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — When a championship is in the balance, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows he can count on Hunter Renfrow.
The receiver had a pair of touchdown catches as the fourth-ranked Tigers won their fourth straight over rival South Carolina 34-10 on Saturday night. The victory kept Clemson on track for a third consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff.
Hunter Renfrow, Tee Higgins step up big for Clemson in 34-10 win against South Carolina
COLUMBIA — Ten games passed and Hunter Renfrow still had no touchdowns to his name.
Externally, it seemed a bit perplexing from the Clemson wide receiver. Internally, though, Clemson coaches knew it was a matter of time until his first score of 2017.
“Obviously,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said last month, “Hunter Renfrow just steps up whenever you need something.”
CLEMSON — The last time the Clemson Tigers made the trek to Raleigh to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack, they narrowly escaped with a 56-41 victory on Halloween night in 2015.
Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from former quarterback Deshaun Watson and finished the game as the Tigers’ leading receiver — catching four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
CLEMSON — It was week 11 of last season when Pittsburgh marched into Death Valley on a dreary Saturday and shocked the world with a last-second field goal to defeat the eventual national champions.
Friday night, the Tigers suffered a similar fate as Syracuse defeated Clemson by a field goal — marking only the third time in their last 40 games the Tigers have walked into their team meetings following a loss.
On the beat: Still hurting from loss, Clemson players spend Tuesday working with charity
CLEMSON — They had the entire weekend off before they all met Monday in Clemson's football facility to address the Syracuse loss for the first time in depth. And for the Clemson football players, the mood was certainly somber. The Tigers are not used to losing.
CLEMSON — With a one four-star quarterback, two three-star quarterbacks and a five-star quarterback already on campus -- and with the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the nation already committed for next season -- one might have to ask: How does the second-ranked team in the nation continue to stockpile loads of talent at the position?
For Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, the process of not only getting commitments, but keeping them and then keeping them once enrolled, is nothing other than truth.
On the Beat: Jeff Scott explains WR decision in second half; Dabo Swinney has a plea for Clemson students and fans
CLEMSON — The second half of Clemson's eventual 31-17 victory over Virginia Tech opened and the second-ranked Tigers rolled out a different look for their first offensive series.
No Hunter Renfrow, no Deon Cain, no Ray-Ray McCloud. Instead, the receivers were redshirt junior Trevion Thompson, sophomore Diondre Overton and freshman Amari Rodgers — all reserves.
When it was all said and done, co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers Jeff Scott shed some light on the decision.
Stage set for national showdown between No. 2 Clemson and No. 12 Virginia Tech
CLEMSON — None of the current Clemson football players have ever played a game at Virginia Tech, but they’ve all heard rumblings of what it might be like.
“I’ve heard their entrance is live,” linebacker Dorian O’Daniel said.
“I’ve always heard about the entrance, they say it’s a lot like Clemson as far as the atmosphere,” wide receiver Hunter Renfrow said.
Pigskin Picks: Kelly Bryant fever; Gamecocks bounce back; split on Duke-UNC, MSU-UGA
CLEMSON – It’s way, way too early to anoint Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Let’s wait at least eight more days for that.
CLEMSON — The new governor of Alabama may be Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow after his team-high nine receptions last week against Auburn and his four touchdowns, including the game-winning score in last year’s national championship, in two games against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
But few may recall that the big-game hunter Renfrow actually burst onto the scene two years ago at Louisville, where he grabbed his first career touchdown pass, a 32-yarder from former quarterback Deshaun Watson.
CLEMSON — Hunter Renfrow had only two catches in third-ranked Clemson’s opening season 56-3 victory over Kent State last weekend.
However, it was the first of the receptions that drew the largest cheer of the day from the crowd celebrating the Tigers’ 2016 national championship. Yet for the hero of last year’s national championship game, whose touchdown reception with a second remaining capped the Tigers’ come-from-behind victory over Alabama, the standing ovation was a complete surprise.
CLEMSON – What have you done for the ACC lately?
Not much, Florida State. Or N.C. State or Georgia Tech.
That 10-4 ACC record against the big, bad SEC was so 2016.
The Seminoles’ offense even before quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury was inept against Alabama. The Wolfpack arrived in Charlotte so bubbly, departed very dazed after a loss to South Carolina. The Yellow Jackets couldn’t hold a two-touchdown lead against wobbly Tennessee.
CLEMSON — “Didn’t you catch a pass one time?”
The joking question was the way Hunter Renfrow’s press conference began earlier this week. The junior wide receiver met with the media ahead of Clemson’s season-opening matchup against the Kent State Golden Eagles.
On the beat: Clemson holds walk-on tryouts; Tigers hope to get young receivers in early against Kent State
CLEMSON — There were no immediate players that caught Dabo Swinney’s eye like Hunter Renfrow did as a walk-on three years ago, but then again, the Clemson coach admits it could be possible. Who knows.
“You never know,” Swinney quipped. “You never know.”
Swinney and the Tigers held open walk-on tryouts Thursday, where 40-plus football players showed up to try out for one spot. Coaches planned to discuss the candidates Friday morning, assessing them not only on talent, but on need.
Clemson title game hero Hunter Renfrow seeking bigger role
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — It seems impossible for any Clemson fan to overlook 5-foot-11 Hunter Renfrow after his game-winning catch clinched the Tigers first national title in 35 years.
But there was Renfrow at a Brazilian steakhouse on Hilton Head this summer alongside bigger teammates — defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence and offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt — all projected as high NFL draft picks the next two seasons.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is honoring Clemson University's NCAA champion football team, calling its victory a title "for the ages."
The Clemson Tigers won the national championship in January with a thrilling 35-31 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Trump says it was one of the greatest games he ever watched.
Clemson football announces depth chart for summer; Bryant still No. 1 QB
CLEMSON — Clemson's football team announced its depth chart for summer camp on Monday, and unsurprisingly, it is highlighted by rising junior quarterback Kelly Bryant, whom Dabo Swinney says will be the starter if Clemson were to play a game right now.
Sapakoff: Dabo (almost) on target with his Deshaun Watson/Michael Jordan comparison
Eyes rolled this week when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney compared his favorite quarterback to one of the most revered winners in the history of competitive athletics.
“If they pass on Deshaun Watson,” Swinney told reporters covering Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile, Ala., “they’re passing on Michael Jordan.”
He caught the national-championship winning pass with one second left on the clock, got a new golden retriever puppy to celebrate, and this week, officially had a day named in his honor. It's been a hectic two weeks for Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
On Tuesday, the mayor of Surfside Beach officially declared Jan. 24, 2017 "Hunter Renfrow Day," in the town to honor Renfrow for his on-the-field and off-the-field achievements.
Thousands turn out for Clemson football parade, celebration
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Around 70,000 smiling, cheering football fans turned out for the biggest party Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has thrown yet at Death Valley to celebrate the school's first national championship in 35 years.
Last year, more than 30,000 people showed up for Swinney's pizza party when Clemson was picked for its first College Football Playoff berth after the 2015 season. This gathering topped that, with all but the highest rows filled at the 80,000-seat Memorial Stadium.
Clemson fans turn out to welcome national champions
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — About 6,000 Clemson fans turned out Tuesday to welcome their national champion Tigers, capping a giddy day of celebration after their team toppled Alabama.
People screamed as the buses pulled up, calling out "DE-SHAUN" over and over as Tigers' star quarterback Deshaun Watson walked with his luggage and national championship hat into Clemson's football building.
Watson and Clemson dethrone top-ranked Tide, 35-31
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Deshaun Watson took the snap, rolled right and with one of the easiest throws he had to make all night, completed Clemson's journey to the top of college football.
A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with 1 second left on a 2-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow.
"I couldn't hear the crowd," Watson said. "I just felt at peace."
Swinney: Penalty on final TD should’ve been called on ’Bama
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says there should have been a foul called on the Tigers' game-winning touchdown against Alabama, and it should have been called on the Crimson Tide.
Swinney says Renfrow’s winning TD epitomizes Clemson
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is paying tribute to Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow the morning after the former walk-on caught a touchdown pass with 1 second left to win the national championship.
Renfrow caught a 2-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to give Clemson its dramatic 35-31 win over Alabama on Monday night.
With game on the line, Watson clutch in fourth quarter yet again
TAMPA, Fla. — They were standing on the national championship stage together, a coach and his quarterback, when Dabo Swinney grabbed Deshaun Watson for one more moment between just the two of them.
"I said, 'I love you,'" Swinney revealed after the game.
"I said, 'Man, this is what you came here to do, and so proud of you. We did it.'"
TAMPA, Fla. – Alabama led the nation in total defense coming into Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson and finished No. 3 in defense last season.
But Deshaun Watson has a way of moving the immovable Crimson Tide. Capped by a game-winning, 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second remaining in Clemson’s 35-31 victory, Watson threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
Clemson notes: Hunter Renfrow the hero, Clemson fans take over Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. — He rolled over backwards in the end zone and tossed the ball to the referee like it was just another routine touchdown in another routine game.
But it wasn’t. Far from it.
There’s something about big-time games on big-time stages that bring out the best in Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, the 5-11, 180-pound redshirt sophomore from Myrtle Beach. Monday night was no exception.
Sapakoff: For Clemson, no better path to the top than a comeback win over Alabama
TAMPA, Fla. – It was a mix of relief and disbelief, mind-boggling joy and tears and spine-cracking hugs. On the Clemson sideline, sure. Also in the stands at Raymond James Stadium and across Clemson Nation.
Dabo and Deshaun’s destiny darlings did it.
The Tigers not only beat No. 1 Alabama, 35-31, in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night, they avenged a loss to the Tide in the 2016 national title game.
Tigers-Tide II gets a place in the history of great games
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — You thought last year's College Football Playoff championship game was great?
The rematch was even better. And it will take a place in the history books.
Clemson won its first national title since 1981 with its 35-31 victory over top-ranked Alabama on Monday night, avenging its 45-40 loss in last year's championship game.
Clemson’s receiver trio comes up big vs. Bama in title game
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mike Williams took a few steps backward after the final snap, flopped to the ground and waited for the confetti to start falling.
It was his least acrobatic move of the night.
Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Jordan Leggett were every bit as integral to Clemson's first national championship since 1981 as quarterback and offensive MVP Deshaun Watson.
Sarkisian dials up magical drive but Bama loses in his debut
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steve Sarkisian dialed up a timely trick play, a pass that worked to perfection and plenty of hand-offs to Bo Scarbrough.
The combination nearly added up to a triumphant debut for Sarkisian as Alabama's offensive coordinator — on the biggest stage in college football. Almost.
Column: Thank you, Clemson. And thank you, Alabama
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Thank you, Clemson.
College football needed this.
Thank you, Alabama.
A fallen champion, but thoroughly magnificent.
In a sequel that proved to be even more of a blockbuster than the original, Deshaun Watson and the Tigers went to the 59th minute and 59th second of the national championship game to finally topple one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports Monday night.
Championship game longest since BCS introduced in 1998
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Clemson's championship victory over Alabama on Monday night wasn't short on excitement. But it sure took a long time.
The final of the College Football Playoff lasted 4 hours, 8 minutes, making it the longest title game since the introduction of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998.
Clemson needed every last second to beat Alabama 35-31, getting a 2-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow for the go-ahead score with a second remaining.
TAMPA, Fla. — The littlest guy on the field made the biggest play in Clemson football history.
Hunter Renfrow’s 1-yard touchdown catch from Deshaun Watson with one second remaining lifted No. 2 Clemson to a thrilling 35-31 victory over No. 1 Alabama in the 2016 College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night in front of a Raymond James Stadium-record attendance of 74,512.
TAMPA, Fla. — Hunter Renfrow, as clutch as they come in College Football Playoff championship games.
And yet, unfortunately for Clemson, so is O.J. Howard.
With his momentum-turning 24-yard touchdown catch, Renfrow helped Clemson inch closer on the scoreboard to Alabama – but only briefly, as Howard’s response TD restored the Tide’s lead to 24-14 entering the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff national championship game.
The Latest: Clemson wins national championship, 35-31
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the College Football Playoff national title game (all times local):
CLEMSON — The assault on Clemson’s wide receiving records continues, and while many of Sammy Watkins school standards remain close to untouchable, there are multiple active Tigers taking their place among the program’s scoring leaders.
Clemson’s Gallman, Renfrow knocked out of game vs NC State
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Running back Wayne Gallman was knocked out of third-ranked Clemson's game against North Carolina State after getting injured in the first quarter, and receiver Hunter Renfrow left in the fourth after hitting his head on the ground while trying to make a catch.
No. 5 Clemson looks to hang to passes, eliminate drops
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson's mission this week: Hang on to passes and eliminate the drops.
The usually sure-handed receivers for the fifth-ranked Tigers (2-0) have played like there's grease on their hands. The group had eight drops in a way-too-close 30-24 win over Troy last week and they want to turn things around against South Carolina State (0-2) on Saturday.