A few weeks ago, Hunter Renfrow approached Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. 

“Hey, if you need a free safety in a pinch …”

Bradley thought the little receiver was kidding … until he saw Renfrow break up a fake-punt pass Monday night against the Chargers. 

The Raiders had only 10 players on the field, and Renfrow — the punt returner — made a beeline from 30 yards out to hit Tevaughn Campbell and break up the sideline pass from punter Ty Long. 

“He showed us a perfect strike zone tackle, head up,” Bradley said Thursday. “He did a great job … he wasn’t lying. He’s just a good overall football player. It’s not surprising, just the way he understands the game so well.”

Renfrow, constantly looked over because of his less-than-imposing 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame, has been making a case for himself as one of the best slot receivers in the league. But he’s been making a case for himself as just a hard-nosed, difference-making football player his whole life. 

Renfrow didn’t play a lot of defensive back at Socastee High in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Star quarterbacks — he was primarily an option QB in high school — don’t see a lot of time on defense. But Renfrow would come in when the game was on the line. 

“They were playing Hartsville to advance to the state semis,” childhood friend Sawyer Jordan said in a phone interview. “Hartsville had a last-minute drive to try to win it and they put Hunter at safety. I looked at our friend Robert and said ‘I bet money Hunter gets the game-winning pick’ and three plays later, he picks the ball off and they win the game.”

There was another memorable interception in Renfrow’s junior year where he was playing outside cornerback and left his man when he saw the slot receiver come open on a wheel route. Interception. 

Great football players make plays. No big deal. It’s an approach Renfrow clearly got from his father and high school coach, Tim Renfrow.

“It was a heady play, but, you know, it was a play I would hope that most punt returners would make,” Tim Renfrow said in a phone interview. “You’ve got a guy out there wide open. But Hunter’s been around long enough and knows what’s going on. It was a good play.

“He was a good defensive player in high school. We would put him in there when we needed him.”