Prep notebook: Socastee’s Renfrow narrows list to Clemson, Appalachian State

For The Sun NewsJanuary 27, 2014 

Socastee's Hunter Renfrow has narrowed his college choices down to Clemson and Appalachian State.

FILE PHOTO BY JANET BLACKMON MORGAN — jblackmon@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

Hunter Renfrow’s official visits are behind him.

Now comes the next part for the Socastee quarterback.

Renfrow said he will spend the next several days with his family deciding between offers to play football at Clemson or Appalachian State. The latter has offered him a full ride as a receiver, while Clemson has given him one of the first cracks at a preferred walk-on spot, also at receiver.

He spent a weekend in Boone, N.C., two week ago, and he was in Clemson this past weekend.

And even though the schools are on different levels – the Tigers are coming off an Orange Bowl victory and Appalachian State is in the process of moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision – Renfrow said the two schools are still on equal footing.

“I knew that going in,” he said Monday. “It was pretty obvious it wasn’t going to be the same thing. I sat there and took it all in.

“The facilities [at ASU] are real nice. It’s a lot like Clemson, but a smaller scale.”

Renfrow almost immediately narrowed a wide range of schools that included a number of Football Championship Subdivision schools for football and Liberty for baseball to Clemson and Appalachian State. He has already voiced some of the pros and cons of each.

At Appalachian State, his tuition and housing would be covered. At Clemson, he’d have an opportunity to earn a full scholarship – he will receive some academic aid after earning a weighted 4.3 grade-point average at Socastee – while also joining several of his friends already associated with the Tigers’ athletics programs.

That feeling of family, he said, has already permeated to the Clemson coaching staff, he said. Renfrow spent a portion of Saturday at head coach Dabo Swinney’s house.

“I think it’s the people,” Renfrow said. “It’s the people in general. Coach Swinney tried to create a family atmosphere. It wasn’t about winning all the time.”

That approach, Renfrow added, prevented him from any potential feelings of intimidation.

“I realized that he’s a human just like me and you,” he said of Swinney. “He makes mistakes. At the end of the day, he’s just a guy like us.”

Renfrow, a two-time Toast of the Coast Offensive Player of the Year, accumulated 5,305 yards and 61 touchdowns in his two-plus seasons as a starter. He was named the South Carolina Football Coaches Class AAA Lower State Back of the Year as a senior, and he was also selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas this past fall.

He led Socastee to its best two seasons in school history and helped the Braves to the third round of the playoffs in each of the last two years.

Around Grand Strand football recruiting

With National Signing Day a little more than a week away, several other Grand Strand prospects are also coming down to the wire with their respective choices.

Carvers Bay defensive tackle Naquez Pringle was still deciding between at least four schools – South Carolina, Clemson, Central Florida and North Carolina State.

In the last week, Conway offensive lineman Sam Hall verbally committed to NCAA Division II Newberry. He will formally sign with the Indians during a ceremony at the school a week from Wednesday.

Myrtle Beach defensive linemen Heath Gray and Cordell Brown are expected to sign somewhere, although Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said they likely won’t do so until later in the signing period.

In addition to this year’s senior class, the recruiting scene is also starting to heat up for several underclassmen. Wilson said representatives from Clemson, South Carolina and Duke were all on campus last week getting better looks at sophomore quarterback Drayton Arnold and classmate Brandon Sinclair.

Those two players had a huge role in the Seahawks’ Class AAA state championship last fall.

Carolina Forest quarterback Will Brunson will also have a major opportunity to boost his recruiting stock later this year. Brunson has been invited to the Elite 11 Regional Camp in Atlanta on March 21. That camp, one of six nationally, will help determine the best 11 prep quarterbacks in the country to participate in a five-day event in Southern California over the summer.

Check back for an updated list of expected signees for all college football levels next week.

Conway handling post-game issue internally

A controversial call at the end of Friday’s Carolina Forest-Conway basketball game added heightened emotions to the rivalry contest.

A last-second half-court shot from Carolina Forest’s Parker Helgerson that would have won the game was off the mark. There was some contact from a defensive player on the shot, although no foul was called. Conway won the game, and Tiger fans stormed the court.

Exactly what happened in the moments to follow are up for debate. However, the intensity of the situation and fans on the court gave administrators from both schools cause to review film and investigate further.

The post-game scenario was brought further into the spotlight when Coastal Carolina Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek – whose son, Ryan, plays for Carolina Forest – took to Twitter.

“I hope the leadership at both Conway and CFHS will review postgame incident following last night’s game and take the appropriate action,” Yurachek wrote.

The CCU athletics director would not elaborate comment when reached by phone over the weekend.

Carolina Forest coach Brian Brunson said that administration from his school would “review everything that transpired.” Outside of saying that he believed there was no violence from either side, he would not comment further.

Conway High Athletics Director Chuck Jordan said he and school officials were also investigating. He said he was aware that Carolina Forest’s team bus was spray-painted with some derogatory language at some point during the game, and video cameras from around the school grounds were being reviewed for more information.

“What happened is something that we’re dealing with at Conway High School,” Jordan said. “There was a student who stepped out of line. That’s high school stuff, and we’re trying to deal with it.”

Jordan said the unnamed student was not an athlete.

Area’s top receiver transfers to Myrtle Beach

The area’s top receiver in terms of yards and touchdowns is in the process of moving.

Kyle Belack, who had 1,067 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall as a junior at Carolina Forest, has transferred to Myrtle Beach. Belack was a Toast of the Coast selection after his standout season for the Panthers.

Next season, though, it appears he’ll be suiting up for the defending Class AAA state champions. Seahawk coach Mickey Wilson said last week that Belack’s family is relocating within the Myrtle Beach district lines, allowing him to be eligible following the transfer.

“We know Kyle’s a good player,” Wilson said. “He had a great game against us. … We’re excited about getting a kid with his talent.”

Wilson has already seen Belack’s abilities first-hand.

The junior put up 13 receptions for 173 yards and three touchdowns against Myrtle Beach in the Panthers’ 41-35 victory Sept. 20. From there, the two teams had dramatically different seasons.

The Seahawks went on to the Class AAA championship and brought home their third state title trophy in six years. Carolina Forest lost its remaining six games, and coach Drew Hummel resigned after a 47-12 defeat to Conway.

Belack, though, was one of the team’s bright spots. The 6-foot, 180-pound receiver was an All-Region VI-AAAA selection for Carolina Forest.

At Myrtle Beach, Belack will be joining a loaded group of returning players. Quarterback Drayton Arnold (2,423 yards, 31 touchdowns) and running back Brandon Sinclair (1,919 yards, 18 touchdowns) will be juniors this fall. Receiver Kelton Greene (932 yards, eight touchdowns), who also doubles as one of the area’s best defensive backs and return men, will be a senior.

Add in guys like Malik Waring and C.J. Finkley, and Myrtle Beach’s offense was already one to watch.

“With our offense, we want five guys who can catch the ball and make stuff happen, whether it be our three receivers, our tight end or our running back,” Wilson said. “Any time you have a chance to add a weapon like that, it makes you better.”

Belack is just the latest of a handful of noteworthy Carolina Forest players who have transferred to Myrtle Beach. Two of the most recent transfers have gone on to successful careers with their new school.

Quarterback Tyler Keane split time as a junior before becoming the full-time starter in 2012. At one point, he had tied the state record for touchdown passes in a single game (eight, although that record has since been re-set). Former Panther running back Dajour Wilson also headed to Myrtle Beach. He was primarily a defensive starter, although he also stepped in on offense and had a big game in the regular-season finale against North Myrtle Beach.

As far as Carolina Forest goes, the Panthers will have to move on without their top receiver.

Quarterback Will Brunson (2,967 yards, 28 touchdowns) was the area’s leader in two passing categories. Then-junior Zavier Jones (1,042 yards, 11 touchdowns) was second to Belack in receiving yards.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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