Super Senior Spotlight: Darien Rencher, Understated Clemson Success Story

Over the next several weeks, I will highlight a few of Clemson’s “Super Seniors.” Each, whether individually or as a group, have made an indelible impression on this program and deserve to be remembered.

It’s almost like he’s always been here, his face is somewhat familiar and his name is sort of recognized.

To those that do know his name, it seems as if he’s been on the roster almost as long as Hunter Renfrow but he hasn’t made the same type of on the field impression. Truth is, he has actually been a part of this team longer that Renfrow and his off the field impression is quite noteworthy.

Darien Rencher, is a quiet but steady, inspirational leader of this team. Like a lot of young high school athletes, knew he wanted to take a shot at playing at the college level. He chose Clemson and this team, and this place is better for his having made that choice.

Darien Rencher (Courtesy of Jason Priester Clemson SI)

The sixth year former walk-on senior from TL Hanna High School in Anderson, SC has never really had much statistical success, playing lust 150 snaps over his career coming into the 2021 season. However, he is arguably one of the real shining stars of this program. Let’s just say, in a sport where it’s all about “the Jimmy’s and Joe’s,” he’s a Darien and that’s just fine.

In the summer of 2020, our world was experiencing things that tore at the fibers that held this country together. Civil unrest, cities burning and COVID-19 shook the foundations of this great country. Calls for change, for equality, social justice rang loudly, some leading to violent protests. Anger left entire sections of some cities on fire, literally. It was a scary time.

While Clemson was far removed from those violent protest, there was a desire to speak out by members of the football program. Trevor Lawrence and Darien Rencher would become the leaders, the faces of change on the Clemson campus. It was powerful and respectful and they proved, by their actions and the actions of the entire Clemson campus, change could happen without violence. It was done the Clemson way, with class and dignity.

I suspect, he never really believed his time at Clemson would bring him football greatness nor accolades, he most probably made peace with that after his second knee injury. However, in that peace, he used his God given talents and the skills and tools learned within the Clemson program to make a difference.

In late 2020, it was announced he had won the Disney Spirit Award for the most influential figure in College Football. Most that know him, already knew that but the award brought much deserved, national recognition.

In this world, unfortunately, money changes everything. With money, through the beginnings of NIL entering amateur athletics, it’s refreshing to see those that don’t have an opportunity to land national endorsements, yet still find a way to make a name for themselves. That’s Rencher. Through his Vlog The Player’s Club ‘21, he provides himself with a vehicle to continue to inspire. I’ve watched several and I must say, I came away impressed.

So, as this season and his Clemson career draws to a close, Rencher has little reason to be down. He has proven he has the “stuff” to succeed in this world and at the same time, make it a little nicer place to live. That’s what inspirational leaders do. That’s Darien Rencher, a quiet, understated, Clemson success story.

So, last Saturday when No. 21 took the field at RB, it was inspiring to see this young man play his heart out. He proved himself on the field and he must have been thrilled. I know, I was. Like Renfrow before him, Rencher is the consummate, unassuming underdog.

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