There are far more popular quarterbacks, including former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and A.J. McCarron, just to name a few.
Renner, at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, is just thankful he finally will be able to rub elbows with some of college football’s best signal callers.
He has been sidelined since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on Nov. 6 to repair a detached labrum and fractured shoulder on his non-throwing hand.
“I think the rehab process has been good to me,” Renner said Thursday on the opening day of the combine. “My shoulder is feeling much better. I just got done with the medical exams, and got a clean bill of health.
“It feels great, about 3 1/2 months out (since the injury), and I am doing better than anyone expected. That’s great news to tell teams.
“Unfortunately, adversity hits sometimes. You can’t cry about it, you can’t lie about it. You just have to man up and battle through it. That’s what I’m doing.”
Renner, a fifth-year senior this past season, finished his Carolina career as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the program’s history.
He owns the top two single-season touchdown pass totals in school history with 28 in 2012 and 26 in ’11. He also holds the school record for career 300-yard passing games with 10.
Yet, he is not projected to be selected in May’s NFL draft.
“At the beginning of the season there was a lot more hype about me and things like that,” Renner said. “Unfortunately adversity hits, and you have to deal with it. You can’t cry about it, you can’t whine about it, you just have to man up and deal with it.
“I realize this game can humble you. We started out 1-5, we reached a bowl game without me. The biggest thing I learned - this injury has helped me as a player and as a person.”
Quarterbacks are scheduled to do their on-field workouts Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Renner can’t wait to audition for NFL scouts and general managers.
“I’ll do whatever it takes just to play at this level,” Renner said. “If I get drafted, that’s great, I’ll be excited about it. But if I have to go about it the hard way (as a free agent), I’m looking forward to that as well.
“I just want to prove everything. I want to prove mentally I can handle it, physically I can handle it, and that I can run a little bit faster than people give me credit for.
“I think it’s also good to do interviews with the coaches this week here and show them that I am completely healthy.”
Renner hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bill, and play in the NFL. His dad was a punter for the Green Bay Packers and at Virginia Tech and also coached him in high school in Springfield, Va.
“He’s been a great role model for me and I’m blessed to have him,” said Renner, one of seven Tar Heels participating in the combine.
“The whole time that I was growing up, he’d been telling me stories about being a pro and how to conduct myself.”