By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Williams was great. DeShaun Watson was terrific.
Yep, got it. Both probably made a few extra bucks Monday night.
Yet, for all the hype and hoopla surrounding those two future first-day NFL Draft picks and what they did in sparking Clemson to a college football national championship against Alabama, it was a former walk-on with no pay-to-play likely down the road who proved the real game-changer.
Hunter Renfrow … remember the name, especially since he already outperformed any unknown label in last year’s Round 1 of Tigers vs. Tide for All the Marbles (or Cheesy Crystal Trophy) before topping himself the second time.
Caught a title tilt-high 10 passes. Two of them for touchdowns. Including the winner with 0:01 left on the clock.
Oh yeah, while the talking heads were raving about Bama linebacker Ryan Anderson’s fumble recovery in the third quarter, they forgot to take note of the textbook, diving shoulder-cutdown-legs tackle Renfrow made on Anderson to save a surefire touchdown and give his defensive mates a chance to hold the Tide to a field goal, which they did.
Take note of the final margin of victory: four points.
That tackle, as it turns out, was as big as any play in the game.
Just sayin’ …
Kinda like enough with the Bama domination discussion in the first half, too. By the break, Clemson had outgained the defending champ by 20 yards. By the final whistle, it was almost 140.
Same silliness 12 months before, when the Tigers were said to be “lucky” to hang in there. Yeah, lucky when they outgained the Tide by 80 yards in that one.
Never let facts get in the way of distorted perception, you know.
Back to Renfrow …
Funny thing about him is, despite his relative obscurity he has been Watson’s security blanket for two seasons – both of which found Clemson vying for a national championship. The star quarterback has never concealed that.
But the little guy has stepped out of the supporting role two straight times under the brightest of lights. He had a pair of TD catches against Bama last year, too.
Plus the critical tackle.
He may never join Williams or Watson on a sideline some Sunday, but for a second time, Renfrow was as big a star as anyone on college football’s biggest stage.