Renfrow received mostly FCS offers coming out of high school and did not have a star to his ranking, per 247Sports Composite Rankings. But he walked on with Clemson and quickly transformed himself into one of Clemson’s most productive receivers, hauling in at least 490 receiving yards in each of his four seasons as a Tiger en route to winning a pair of national championships.
The Raiders took him 149th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he still keeps making an impact. Despite being among the shortest players in the NFL this season, Renfrow was Derek Carr’s top target throughout the year, hauling in 103 passes for 1,038 receiving yards with nine touchdowns, which were career-highs across the board.
Renfrow finds himself in rare company for his 1,000-yard receiving season, as few shorter than him have managed the feat.
How tall is Hunter Renfrow?
Renfrow stands only 5-10, making him one of the shortest regulars in the NFL today.
According to Stathead, only 20 players this season appeared in all 17 games that were shorter than Renfrow, while 20 others were tied with him at 5-10. The shortest players in the postseason are Eagles running back Boston Scott and Patriots running back J.J. Taylor, who both check in at 5-6. They are tied with the Saints’ Deonte Harris.
Renfrow is also not alone in the impactful short receiver mold. There were six other players in the NFL this season 5-10 or shorter that recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards, according to Stathead.
1,000-yard receivers in the NFL
It might sound like Renfrow has a lot of company, but historically speaking, he, along with the other 5-10 and shorter receivers in the league, remain outliers.
There have been 332 receivers to record at least one season with 1,000 or more receiving yards. Only 45 have been 5-10 or shorter. There were seven in 2021, which is tied for the most in a single-season with 2016.
Here’s a look at all the seasons in which a receiver had at least 1,000 yards. Renfrow is marked with an icon in the “70” column.
The shortest player to record a 1,000-yard season is Chargers hybrid running back/receiver Lionel James, who caught 86 passes for 1,027 yards in 1985. He stands 5-6. The tallest is Eagles 6-8 wide receiver Harold Carmichael, who had three 1,000-yard seasons.
Among receivers that are under 6-feet, Renfrow’s 1,038 is the 164th-most in a single season. Antonio Brown, also 5-10, has the top two seasons at 1,834 in 2015 and 1,698 in 2014. For a career, Steve Smith Sr. leads all sub-6-foot receivers with 14,731 receiving yards. Smith is 5-9.
How the Raiders use Renfrow
Renfrow is not a burner like Hill and Waddle. Among wide receivers drafted in 2019, his 4.59 40 time in the NFL Combine was the seventh-slowest, per Stathead. He has not posted the team’s fastest time this season in any game, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. By comparison, Carr was the team’s fastest runner three times.
But speed has never been part of his game. Instead, Renfrow has found success as a slot receiver that makes corners miss with exceptional route running and the ability to break tackles.
According to Pro Football Focus, Renfrow forced 14 missed tackles in 2021, the 10th-most among receivers in the NFL. However, he had the third-shortest average depth of target, catching passes an average of just 6.8 yards ahead of the line of scrimmage. Despite that, he turned it into 1.94 yards per route run, tied for the 15th-best, as was his 4.4 yards after catch per reception.
The Raiders also don’t try to set him up outside to be a deep target. He lined up in the slot on 64.3 percent of his snaps, the seventh-most in the NFL.
Carr can also rely on him as a sure-handed target. Renfrow’s 2.8 percent drop rate was the fifth-lowest in the league among qualifying receivers, per PFF.
Renfrow has been an invaluable weapon to the Raiders this season, and he’ll look to keep his team alive as the Raiders face the Bengals at 4:30 p.m. ET in Cincinnati on Saturday.