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Being a great football player takes more than just skill and determination. You need a good mindset both on and off the field as well. Build comradery with your team, so everyone leans on each other when things get rough. Understand that you must also give back to the people who helped you become who you are. It’s these little things that really differentiate a good football player from a great one.
Join Dan Clark as he talks to Senior wide receiver of the Utah Utes, Solomon Enis. Listen in as they talk about what makes a great football player and why Utah is the place to be in. Learn what Solomon’s father told him about success and how to achieve it. Get inspired today!
Solomon Enis Shares How His Father Helped Guide Him To Success By Focusing On His Mindset And Preparation Both On And Off The Field
This is an interview with University of Utah Football star Solomon Enis. Thanks for spending some time with me. In this episode, there’s the University of Utah Football star Solomon Enis, the extraordinary star receiver who is all everything at North Canyon High School in Arizona, a member of the state champion 4×400 relay track team, a four-star recruit and the number two national recruit in Arizona who incidentally loves to write and record music, go camping wheeling and stream video games.
He shares his life off the field raised in an amazing family atmosphere with his three brothers and influenced by his father who was an all-American at Penn State and played in the NFL, giving us an inside glimpse into what it takes to be an elite athlete and a four-year Pac-12 academic honor roll student who has already graduated in an undergrad degree working on his MBA and the mindset preparation and hard-set focus required to be a big-time player who makes big plays in big games.
This episode is brought to you by our beloved University of Utah. Without any further ado, you’ve read the formal introduction that gives all the stats of him from North Canyon High School and being this superstar in high school but I want to get to the heart and soul of why in the world you would leave 90-degree Arizona weather to come to the University of Utah in the beautiful Rocky Mountains where there’s a chance that any morning, you could wake up and there’s some white stuff on the sidewalk and the field. It’s snowing with a cold breeze over your shoulder, yet you chose Utah over your other opportunities. Welcome to the show, Solomon Enis.
Thank you for having me in. Before I get started, that was impressive. I cannot follow up on that intro. I will give you two things. One, Utah is near my home in Arizona. Two, the biggest thing when I was deciding what school I wanted to come to, the weather wasn’t going to be a factor because, for example, I wanted to get drafted or I got drafted by the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings or the Patriots, you’re still going to have to show up and play, whether it’s snow, wind or rain so you might as well get used to it now. It has paid off.
You’re one of the elite receivers, not just in the Pac-12 but in the country based on your size, speed, athleticism and leaping ability. On paper, you have all the stats to be a number one pick. What’s the difference between skill and heart? What would you recruit and draft, more skill or heart? In my mind, if you come for money, you will leave for money. That doesn’t create any loyalty. You come to the table with this brilliant brain and this sense of education and preparation and you apply that to the field. I want to know and I’m sure everybody else wants to know. When you’re coaching or in a position to influence the decisions of young men coming to a football program, would you go after character, heart or skill?
How about I rank them? I’m going to put character as number one. I can’t even rank them. I would go for all three but character and heart are the biggest things for me because that’s what I pride myself on. Especially with any type of sport that you’re playing, you have to love the game before you love everything else that comes with it. Character and heart are going to take you a long way in life.With any type of sport that you're playing, you have to love the game before you love everything else that comes with it. Click To Tweet
If your skill is just the sport that you’re playing, for example, it’s not your whole life. You have to have character and heart your whole life. It’s going to open doors and pay off in those situations where you need it. If I’m a coach and I’m confident in my skillset to help teach the kid that I’m recruiting, I’m picking character and heart over skill.
It’s one of the elite programs in the country and the Pac-12. There’s no reason why we should settle for 2 out of 3 or 1 out of 3. Maybe that’s why they highly recruited you and a couple of your teammates who have the same level of character, class and sophisticated elegance that you bring to the party. Who else recruited you coming out of high school? That was years ago. He’s a senior, ladies and gentlemen. He looks so good. It’s so good to have you on the program.
Thank you. I appreciate it. 2018 when I graduated feels like a long time ago. I had most of the Pac-12 schools and a couple of ICC schools. I had Penn State, my dad’s all matter. That was pretty much it. I had a little bit over fifteen but I was grateful for every single one of them.
Did they recruit you to play a different position? Were you always hell-bent on being a receiver?
That’s funny because at first, I was getting recruited as a safety playing defense. That’s when they were like, “You should play receiver your junior year of high school.” Once that happened, that’s when everything took off and started rolling.
Did you go to any camps to prepare yourself to increase your exposure as a high school athlete and get recruited by more schools?
I did go to a couple. I believe I went to a UFA camp. I went to big names like Nike. I went to a couple of Under Armour and Adidas camps. When I was growing up, it was tight for us to travel and hit all these camps. I had to pinpoint which ones were going to be the most beneficial for me. I did do a couple of local college camps because they had other college coaches come. My dream was always trying to go to these big camps like The Opening. I was blessed enough to be there and be around those other individuals and players. It was a great learning experience but I didn’t do too much of the cross-country camp circuit.
You’ve been asked this so many times because you’re so over-the-top intelligent working on your MBA. The sad statistic is about 78% of professional football players go bankrupt within three and a half years after retirement. We know one of the major causes of that is a divorce where they split it 50/50. That’s an ugly truth of all society, not just football players. With that statistic in mind and your brilliance in the business world in getting your MBA, do you see a business or starting anything while you’re playing football using that fame and platform that would carry on into the future?
I hope so. That’s why with NIL coming out, it’s so beneficial in making those relationships and building those connections to help you down the road. When any type of professional athlete goes bankrupt, it’s either the people that they have around them or the connections that they have, not knowing how to grow their money without working. It’s those little things that can add up later on down the road, not at that moment but down the road.
I’m praying to be successful. I want to start building things, creating things and giving back because to keep that cycle going, you have to give back. There’s no way you can think you did it all by yourself the whole way through and not believe people were there to help you throughout. Reaching out to shelters and helping kids or different types of families that need it pays more beneficial than the monetary value. There are ways to grow your capital and invest in yourself and your brand but there are also ways to give back that can make you more successful as well.
Growing up, my dad always told me to identify the thoroughbreds of my generation and keep in touch. Even though I played against McMahon, we have remained friends. Even though I played against some folks from other teams, I knew they were going to make it big time. You snuggle up before they get their first big paycheck. Who in Utah have you struck up a great deep friendship with that you will keep in touch with forever?
In Utah, what’s so great about our program is that it’s like a family already even if a guy makes it to a league first-round draft pick like Devin Lloyd or some kids that don’t want to play anymore. It is the reality. We all stay so connected. Someone I can get for example is Devon Bailey. He’s going to be a one-hit wonder. He’s going to be that guy. For the past few years, I was building that relationship with him, grinding day in and day out of practice, showing up during the games and making that highlight plays.
Why we have grown so close because we’re so similar in our personalities and our characters. I see him as one of my most successful friends. I have other friends that are successful now, this, that and the other but as of this moment, I can name Cam Rising and Dalton Kincaid. There’s not one specific person but I can name Devon Bailey for sure.
If you were going to go on tape or film as the recruiting voice of Utah Football, what would you say to young men anywhere in the country? We all know that you recruit the kid and retain the mom. We have to get the mom to sign off, “I love this coach. He’s honest. I know he is going to take care of my baby boy.” I had that whole experience. I shocked the world when I signed with Utah but it was because of my mom.
What would you say to these young men and their families, especially their mom, about why they should come to Utah, the culture, the family experience and the caring community? We care about you. It’s good to see you without your helmet on but everybody in our section on the 50-yard line loves you and admires you because of the reputation you bring to the table. You’re the same offstage as you are on stage. You love to practice. How cool is that?
I appreciate you saying all those great things. When a coach should sell Utah, it should always be the family atmosphere because you’re with those guys in that locker room every single day. Everyone knows how tough our program is. You don’t want to sell to a recruit that college football is tough. There’s going to be adversity that you have to overcome but that’s the reality of it. If you want to be the best or the greatest at what you’re doing, that’s what it’s going to have to take.
Our coaches are one of the best developing coaches in the country, hands down. They take guys and turn them into beasts along with the brotherhood that we have in that locker room because, at the end of the day when stuff goes South, you have to lean on each other. That builds camaraderie even more. That’s what builds those lifelong friendships that we have all heard about.
Your friends from college are going to be at your weddings. Utah is the definition of that. Along with the success we have been having, it’s only up from here in my opinion. That’s the biggest pitch. The numbers don’t lie. It’s all on paper. There are no fantasies. There’s no this, that and the other. When you come to Utah, it’s what you get. What they say is true.
Turning a kid into a man being the 47th-ranked wide receiver of the country and the 2nd-highest ranked four-star recruit coming out of Arizona, congratulations.
Wit is famous for taking 3-star recruits and turning them into 4 and taking 4-star recruits and turning them into 5. That has to do with what you’re talking about like character, family and brotherhood. More than football, we care about your family. Would you agree with that?
Coming here, I’ve grown so much from being 18 years old when I stepped foot on campus to being 22. Looking back, I was a whole other person when I came into the program. With the success that we have had winning championships and games and going to bowl games, there’s no other way I would rather have it. I would rather face adversity, lean on people I can count on, grow as a person, take life head-on, understand what life is and how to persevere through those sticky situations and have fun while playing a sport I love.
Having had a chance to interview so many of the top Utes such as yourself, I haven’t asked anyone the question about dealing with the loss of 22-22. You’ve been around for five years. 2022 is your fifth year. This goes in perpetuity. This interview will be on the internet forever. Your grandkids will read it. Those who aren’t familiar with Utah Football, take us back to not just the minute details but what happened with our two amazing young men, 22-22.
What happened as a team? What did the coaches do? You’re a leader on the team and an older statesman, which has nothing to do with qualifications, making you a leader. You lead with and without the C on the jersey. Take us back to those two tragedies back-to-back and what you had to do as a team to come together. That’s when you realized the true family and brotherhood more than just teammates. You were in the ditches and pain together.
It was tough. It’s still tough. It never goes away. It was the 2020 season. I believe it was Christmas Day when it happened. I woke up to my phone being blown up. My parents were calling me. I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t feel real because we were coming off the wind of Washington state, the last game of COVID season. The biggest thing to me was they were both great football players but Ty and Aaron Lowe were great people off the field.
With Aaron Lowe in 2021 and how that all played out, that whole situation hits differently because they’re more than players on the field. Their souls were so much greater than the vessel or the body that they were in. When so when Ty left us, it was tough. Even though we were all home or doing whatever for Christmas, we all were checking up on each other and making sure everyone is okay. When we got back, the coaches and everyone handled it the right way. There’s no other way to praise and honor both of those young men than the way that the program and how the coaches responded to doing it.
They were such good football players. Their souls were so pure and full of life. When they’re gone, you feel the presence gone. They’re always going to be there but you would love to see them walking around or being a part of our mission to be Pac-12 champs again or trying to push to the college football playoff. You wish they were here with us. They’re always going to be with us but you feel it when they left. It’s good to know that they’re still around though.
Both of these young men lost their lives in tragic accidents. One of the coolest things for me in our section 50-yard line of the stadium is to see the impact that short little video has on the opposing team when we’re playing at home because that takes the focus off the scoreboard. It was cool to see a handful of USC players watching the video, standing and clapping as we all did as we made that shout or cheer in honor of the guys.
I’m emotional. I was seriously hurt playing football into my career. Every single time I see anything like that on the field, it reminds us that when you see an elite athlete like you, Solomon, competing at the highest level, you see much more than muscle and bone going through the motion. You see heart and work ethic. You see all that time invested in each other, validating that when the water in the lake goes up, all the boats rise together and football will end.
I’m so old. I bend over to pull up my socks and think, “What else can I accomplish while I’m way down here?” Eventually, our bodies do let us down but the heart, the soul and the spirit will never die. That’s such a tribute to Coach Whittingham and to all of you leaders, especially someone like you who has been through it all. We thank you from the fans. We thank you for stepping it up and coming up with a consolidated way to honor the men inside the uniform, not just the score on the board.
To piggyback off that video, that gets me emotional. While I’m watching it on the field, it separates because you get so caught up in the game and the flow of the game but when you watch it, we’re all here watching a sport that men created. We’re all a part of it. Whether you’re playing, watching or coaching, everyone is a crucial part of this.
It’s way more than football itself, especially when they started including more of the fans, the truly great friends and the fans that passed away. It’s bigger than a football. Football is a great sport. Everyone loves it. At the end of the day, people love a sport. It’s community-based. It brings everyone together and creates so much love and passion for one another. Sometimes we can get lost in football but that video brings us back to ground level.Football is more than just a sport; it brings people together. Click To Tweet
Do you think at home that gives us a competitive advantage? I used to return kickoffs and punts. I’m not good with the ball but suddenly the S-curve and the blood on your pants go away when you’re looking at that video. Does that revitalize the team into the fourth quarter? Do you think that’s a competitive advantage that we have at home?
Even when we’re on the road, knowing that we have to win the fourth quarter and thinking of ALo, Ty and all the fans that are passed or people that are with us brings us all together in the sense of, “We’re here at this point. We can’t change anything that happened in the past. All we can do is give our all to these last fifteen minutes that we have together on this field and this play tonight, on this evening or wherever we’re playing. Whatever happens, we will figure it out the next day but nobody is leaving this field without giving it their all.” That’s the edge that we get, not necessarily the edge against the opposing team but it’s the competitive edge that we have within ourselves. We’re holding each other accountable and leaning on each other to get the job done for one another.
I’ve interviewed so many of the top pro-NFL coaches and collegiate coaches. They will all agree that winning or losing a football game boils down to only six plays. Have you ever heard that?
Coach Whit always says that you only get about ten drives in college football. You have 6 plays and 10 drives.
If your 60 to 70 plays offense and defense, the average play takes 5 seconds and you have 25 seconds in between each play to get your mind right to forget about the pass you dropped or the play you scored on and get your emotions back in check, here’s another chance to catch another one. How do you control those emotions? You seem to be so levelheaded. I watched when you scored a touchdown. If you had a polo shirt on, you would make the little horsey gallop and then get on with the program. It’s almost like you celebrate and then you’re back on an even keel.
How do you control your emotions? How do you get up for the play when you know that you’re going to be blocking or it’s going away from you? It’s a sweep around the right side. You’re in the slot on the left side. You know that it doesn’t even matter. I watch you a lot. You don’t take a playoff. How do you stay so focused and even-keeled no matter where you’re going or if your number’s called or not?
It’s putting the team above yourself in that given moment. When the team does good, that brings success for yourself. I’m not necessarily saying that I do that but I love seeing my teammates score. If I help create a block that makes my teammate score, going back on film to watch that play develop and being a part of it, I’m not necessarily dancing in the end zone or handing the ball to the ref but seeing everybody go down the field and jump in the end zone with one another. If you don’t love football and that doesn’t get you fired up, then you’re in the wrong sport.
I remember interviewing Magic Johnson, Showtime Lakers. I said, “You’re 6’9. You’re a point guard. When did that start?” He said, “As soon as my dad as a young man convinced me that it was just as cool to make a pass as it was to make a shot.” That’s what you’re saying. You know your role in that play. You’re wide open. Many times, I’m like, “Throw it to 21.” Rising tries to cram it into triple coverage. We don’t pick up the first down. I’m like, “Come on. I’m thinking about changing the color of your jersey and maybe getting a little flag that you stick on the top of your shoulder pad. You’re running down at the back of a four-wheeler to get your attention.”
Let’s shift personally. What’s your favorite kind of music? What’s your routine to get ready for a game? I’ve used Michael Phelps as an example, the Olympic swimmer. He’s got his headphones on. He’s jamming before he jumps in the pool to break a world record. Is there some music or routine that you go to before the game that gets you fired up and tuned up?
I’m all over the place when it comes to music. I listen to rap, country and a little bit of rock. It depends on the mood. When I need to get that juice going, I play more upbeat or more in-your-face type deal but sometimes I can get a little bit too hyped up. I simmer myself down a little bit of country or slower stuff. I’m like that. I got the headphones on. I’m not talking much because it’s such a privilege to be able to play this game. I take it very seriously. I prepare seriously. That’s how the whole team is. The whole team is that mantra and that vibe you get on game days. Everyone is locked in but when it’s time to turn up and have fun, they’re not turning us down at that point.
How about your favorite food?
Mom’s cooking. You can’t go wrong with that. I’ll name a couple like a lasagna, mac and cheese and collard greens. I could go on and on. We could sit here and have a cooking show at this point. My whole family knows how to cook. My girlfriend knows how to cook.
If you’re home alone, what’s your default, mac and cheese? I can even cook that.
If I’m at home alone, there better be leftovers because I’m trying to burn anything or destroy the kitchen. I can whip a little bit of spaghetti or something simple and a little bit of steak, rice, mashed potatoes, good carbs and protein. I get the veggies in there. I learn a little bit from the nutritionist. I can make a little dinner or something.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have Solomon Enis. When you have a name like that, you have to be a superstar. You have no other choice. If you’re not running, nobody can. Solomon Enis, what a cool name. It’s probably Portuguese for stud muffins or hunka burning love. I have to look it up. If you have one more attempt to get people to appreciate the culture here at the University of Utah Football, what would it be? What would you hang your hat on as the number one reason why athletes should come to Utah regardless of the NIL temptation and why they should stay here regardless of the NIL temptation to transfer?
I can name many different reasons. When you come here, you’re going to get in the best shape that you’ve ever been in. You’re going to be the best player that you can be but I will caution that what you put in is what you get out. A lot of people get the misconception that if you play college football, you’re given that opportunity. You’re given that first opportunity but you have to make the most out of it for what you want out of it.
If you’re coming to Utah, you’re going to be in the best shape, be the best athlete you can be and learn from one of the best schools in the country. The community, the fan base and every single part you can think of when it revolves around that football program are the best in the country. It’s the fans, coaches, staff, professors, nutritionists, Jeff Rudy and people up there in the administration.
There are facilities and access to the great outdoors.
I can’t forget about that.
We have to tap into that quickly before we end the interview.
I’m blessed to wake up every day and see the sun coming over those mountains because those mountains that we have here are like a painting. It puts into perspective how life is. We get so caught up in our daily routines of driving on asphalt or cement that we forget to look up with our heads buried in the ground. Utah is a great reminder of that.
Life is so full. It’s great if you sit back and take it in for what it is. It can clear your mind and broaden your perspective on everything, whether you go to work from 7:00 to 5:00 or you’re playing football and you have a fourteen-week season or whatever you have to do. Sometimes you sit back, catch that fresh air and see the scenery around you. It brings you down back to Earth.Sit back and just take in your life. Clear your mind and broaden your perspective on everything. Click To Tweet
If I could consolidate being a fan of quotes, you remind me that if you sit around all day wondering whether or not your glass is half-empty or half-full, you’ve missed the point. It’s refillable. You’re taking advantage of this opportunity one day at a time or one play at a time. With so many guys going down and folks with injuries, with my background injury, you can’t afford to take a playoff.
I want to compliment you again as I watch you. A lot of folks might say, “This time, we’re focusing on 21. Let’s see what he does.” You’ve never let us down. You’ve never taken a playoff. Even those times when you’re wide-open waving your arms and jumping up and down and Rising throws it to the cheerleader on the fifth row, you still bounce back. You’re not the whining type. You’re the team guy. I compliment you on that. Know that people notice that about you.
It’s not about the stats, catching nine balls or doing this or that. With every play, you’re contributing to the team. I watch you on the sideline when you come off. You compliment people and give them high-fives. Every once in a while, you wander down to the defensive side to make sure that they are okay. Thanks so much.
If there’s a team player who epitomizes TEAM, it’s not Solomon Enis. What he has done is he’s taken that old overused acronym of TEAM or Together Everyone Achieves More to a higher status than Coach Whittingham and his parents have instilled in him. What I know about Solomon Enis is he subscribes to FAMILY or Forget About Me. I Love You. Go, Utes. I predict we’re going to be in the back of a championship because of players like Solomon Enis. Thanks.
I appreciate you having me. It was great speaking with you.
You are such a classy young man. There you go.
About Solomon Enis
- 50 career games played, 19 starts.
- Appeared in his 50th career game at Washington State. Tallied one reception for 27 yards.
- Recorded one reception for 9 yards against No. 7 USC.
- Tallied three receptions for 16 yards against Arizona State.
- Recorded a season-long 15-yard reception against SDSU.
- Scored his first touchdown of the season and first since the Pac-12 Championship game against Oregon.
- Tied his career-high in receiving yards against Weber State with 62 on four catches, including an eight-yard touchdown catch.
- Career-high seven receptions against San Diego State for 56 yards.
- Season long 24-yard catch against Weber State.
- Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll.
- 11 receptions for 108 yards (9.8 ypc) and one touchdown.
- Season-high three catches for a season-best 42 yards with one touchdown against No. 21 Colorado, also catching a season-long 25-yard reception.
- Three catches for 42 yards (14.0 ypc) against No. 20 USC.
- Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll.
- 14 catches for 158 yards (11.3 ypc).
- Career-best three catches for 62 yards, including a career-long 41-yard catch against Washington State.
- Pac-12 All-Academic Honor Roll.
- 13 catches for 179 yards (13.8 yards per catch) and a touchdown.
- Two catches for 35 yards against BYU.
- Two catches for 34 yards included a season-long 29-yard reception against Weber State.
- Honorable mention All-USA Arizona as a senior at North Canyon HS.
- Two-time first-team AIA 5A Northeast Valley all-region, two-time PVSchools all-district and 2016 AZCentral second-team all-conference.
- 2018 Polynesian Bowl participant.
- 1,670 all-purpose yards as a senior included 46 receptions for 820 yards (8 TD) and 46 carries for 450 yards (3 TD), adding three kick returns for 176 yards and three punt returns for 137 yards (2 TD). Two-way player added 57 tackles (7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks), two interceptions (1 TD), four forced fumbles and a blocked field goal.
- 1,575 all-purpose yards as a junior included 64 receptions for 1,144 yards (10 TD) and 19 carries for 318 yards (4 TD), also had 32 tackles, two interceptions, a pass breakup and three kick returns for 113 yards and a touchdown as a junior.
- 29 catches for 370 yards and 12 kick returns for 374 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore.
- Member of the 2017 state champion 4×400 relay team, also placed seventh in the state in the 200 meters.
- North Canyon HS won the 2017 state track championship.
- Also played basketball.
- Attended Sandra Day O’Connor HS as a freshman.