Their have been many walk on athletes through the years that have taken their place on the scout team. That role , while unsung, is an important component of building a winning program. Dabo Swinney, having been a walk on himself, takes a sense of pride in helping develop all of his players, not just the four and five star recruits.
One of the better examples is Hunter Renfrow. Hunter was an undersized option quarterback from Socastee High School. He had offers to play QB at smaller schools but that wasn’t his dream. He dreamed of playing for the team he had always loved, Clemson.
Renfrow and other walk on athletes are a special breed of competitor. They hear the opinions of others, they read the evaluations, see the star ratings, and remain undaunted. They refuse to let their perceived talent, or lack thereof, define their path.
The culture surrounding what Dabo Swinney has built in the Clemson program fosters and encourages belief. A belief in one’s self, and belief that in his program, anything can happen.
Hunter Renfrow is just the most publicized example, there are others. Greg Huegel, Andy Teasdale and Daniel Rodriguez, three more notable recent walk ons that came in to the program, worked hard, developed their bodies and minds, and never quit.
It s important to point out there are other programs that have a long history of encouraging and playing walk ons. Nebraska in the 1980’s and 1990’s, under then coach Tom Osborne, really placed an emphasis on the student athletes that chose to walk on. Current Coach Scott Frost has brought back that tradition, and encourages walk ons to join his program..
In recent years, Coach Swinney and his staff have led the nation in giving many preferred walk ons the opportunity to shine on the big stage. I believe this is going to continue and no doubt will continue to bare fruit.
“Happy are those that dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true,”
To all those athletes that believe anything is possible if you work hard and follow your dreams, it is true. Look at Clemson.Look at Hunter Renfrow. This undersized, undervalued option QB dared to follow his dream to Clemson and the fan base is sure glad he did.
Fans may ask who is next. There’s no way to tell, but one thing is certain, there will be others. The path exists at Clemson. The trail has been blazed for those that dare to dream and are willing to work.