From Bowie High School in Arlington, TX, Renard Gwynn is a senior defensive end for the Volunteers. He measures in at 6’3” and 240 pounds. Gwynn is fairly new to Texas high school football being that he moved to Texas in January. He’s played for multiple high schools in the Tennessee and Arkansas area. Along with his aggressive playing style and appreciable work ethic on the field, Renard continues to fight through adversity and overcome obstacles he’s faced. Early into his junior season with West Memphis, he suffered a wrist injury that ended a confident season. Nevertheless, Renard is optimistic about his senior season and is looking forward to playing for Bowie this fall. He still has a three-star recruiting status and offers under his belt from Arkansas, Liberty, Memphis, Rutgers, Texas A&M, and ULM.
When did you start playing football? What made you want to play this sport?
I started playing football at the age of 4. I wanted to play because I had a twin brother, but he died months later because of SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome). It was just me and my sister after that because my father left shortly after my twin died. I wanted to play football to make sure my family was straight because I was the only actual man in the house at the time. It wasn’t like I had my brother, but I had some good people around me to guide me. I think God put me in this situation because He knows my capabilities and the way I change society just playing football and just being a good person on and off the field.
What are some goals you have for this season?
I know one goal of mine is to retake the ACT or SAT again. Plus, I’m trying to keep my grades up. I want to bring them up some more. It’s mostly about the grades. I would be thinking about football and everything right now, but I’m still recovering from surgery and this is my last year. I’m not looking to get every offer in the world, I just want to find the right place to go to.
What has been the highlight of your football career?
My freshman year! That was the time I started getting a lot of stuff coming in. I was first offered by Arkansas and I had Texas A&M too. There were a lot of opportunities that I had, but there was also a lot of adversity and other things I was going through that really kind of messed me up. I learned my lesson from that.
How do you think your coaches and teammates would describe you as a player?
They would say I’m a cool guy and a good person. I just came down here in January because I had to finish my semester at West Memphis in Arkansas. I went back home for a break and that’s actually when I decided I was going to leave Memphis.
You mentioned a little bit about your wrist injury earlier but can you describe your recovery process, and what lessons you learned from the experience.
We were doing 11 on 11, and I actually pushed my hand back instead of using the long arm move, turning my hand, I just used it and pushed it forward. That’s when my scaphoid was injured. What I learned from it was, well the first time, they didn’t wrap up my thumb because, in order for it to heal, I couldn’t move my thumb. I messed up and then I was still playing the game and doing stuff I shouldn’t have, so I had to bite that bullet. The second time, they had to take a graft from my knee, so I wasn’t able to walk for a while because they had cut some nerves and stuff. I’m still trying to get through the process of being able to run, but my hands have gotten better. It was like God was asking what would you sacrifice because it was to the point where I could either play or sit out. I haven’t played in a year, so when I would watch my old teammates when we would get blown out or beat, I would wish that I was out there on the field playing too.
How do you prepare for upcoming games?
I do watch film a lot. I know that there’s a lot of talent out here, so I just can’t be careless on the field. I’m just going to be prepared for anything. I don’t want people thinking that I’m nice because I’m from Memphis. I’m not just going to knock myself off the bracket because I’m in Texas.
Being that Texas is known for its dynamic football culture, what are you looking forward to the most as the season is beginning?
Even though the crowd is going to be limited, I’m not really worried about that. I just want to play football. It’s just not having people around in the stand like we usually have is different. I really just need to see my auntie and my mom. I’m used to not having many people at the games.
Do you have a favorite NFL or college athlete?
It’s hard to choose because I like defensive linemen and linebackers because I always thought if I had the size, I could play linebacker, but I put on a few pounds during the quarantine. There’s a lot of people I could name, but right now in the league, Aaron Donald. Then there are guys before like Ray Lewis and Lawrence Taylor. Players like that, people that made an impact on the team and lead to victories.
What would you tell younger players who hope to play high school football one day?
Stay focused on your goals and don’t get distracted because it will come back to haunt you. Life is life. All you have to do is be patient and have faith and whatever or whoever is coming for you will come. Until then, do what you have to do. If God has given you a path and you look to the right, you’re not focused on your path, you’re basically stopping. It can throw you all the way off and set you all the way back, then you’ll have to try to catch up.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
If not in the NFL, I’ll be pursuing other things like being an agent or a personal trainer because I know I can do that. Maybe be a doctor, there are a lot of things I can do. I’ll have it figured out by then, but I don’t want to make football my only option. I can be a team owner, so if I’m not playing for a team, I should own one or be a coach.
What are three words to describe yourself?
Funny. Cool. I would say down to earth. I just put my all on the field and I’m a team player. I work for the team, it’s not like I should be selfish or anything like that. I eat, you eat, we all eat.
What motivates you to do what you do (why do you play)?
My mom, she struggled trying to take care of me and my sister. She actually had to go through having two sons to one son. That’s a bad experience for anyone to have to go through. Football let me know that my gift didn’t go to waste. It was something I could use to benefit myself, my life, and the people around me, so I just took the opportunity. I love it
What would you bring to a college team and what are you looking for out of one?
One thing I would bring is passion. This is what I love to do. Knocking people down on the ground is fun. Being knocked down has taught me how to fight through adversity. What am I going to do back and how am I going to bounce back from that? I also feel that I would be a great leader because most of my life, I’ve always thought about others. That’s what has pushed me so hard. When I first got to this team, I shook every last one of their hands. I knew the place I was in and I had to show respect and be welcomed in. They believed in me and became my family.
Have you thought about what you would like to study in college?
I’m not sure. At one point I was thinking about studying to become a police officer, but I’ll have to think about that some more. The way things are looking now, every cop is painted out to be bad, so I don’t know right now.