Fun fact No. 1: Given a choice, Solomon Enis prefers lifting with offensive and defensive linemen as opposed to his fellow wideouts. Better competition.
“It’s weird,” Phoenix North Canyon High School football coach and former CFL defensive back Airabin Justin told Land of 10 recently. “Because on offense, he’s going to try to punish you like he was on defense.”
Interesting. Sound like anyone we used to know?
— Aaron (@posas13) February 2, 2015
Fun fact No. 2: The apple didn’t fall all that far from the tree.
Solomon Enis takes 5 Yard catch for 32 yards. pic.twitter.com/oB1DvFSVsK
— marloncqb (@miamiusmc0311) October 31, 2016
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) August 26, 2017
“He’s very explosive off the line, a very explosive kid,” Justin said of Enis, the gifted wide receiver at North Canyon, son of former Penn State tailback Curtis Enis, and a 6-foot-4, 190-pound Tasmanian devil. “He just does a lot of things, sometimes, that you wouldn’t expect someone of his [body] type to do. Everyone expects someone of his size to go up and get the ball.
“He’s so much more physically gifted than the guys he’s played against. Once he gets to college he’s going to get bigger and stronger.”
Sometimes, the stars align. And sometimes they form a giant, flashing arrow in the heavens, pointing squarely at Beaver Stadium. In February, the Nittany Lions offered Solomon Enis, a legacy pick, scion of one of the most bruising backs ever to tote the rock for Bruising Back U. Enis The Younger visited unofficially in April, then officially in November. Then, earlier this month, the College Football Playoff gods elected to send his dad’s alma mater to Solomon’s backyard for Christmas vacation.
When Penn State travels to Arizona to play in the Fiesta Bowl, can @SolomonEnis just hop on the PSU flight back to State College? 👀
— Nittany Nation (@BasicBlues) December 3, 2017
“It’s crazy man, it’s really, really crazy,” Justin said of the Lions (10-2), who’ll take on Washington (10-2) in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.
“That’ll be pretty cool for him to go out there and check it out. I’m sure he’s probably pretty excited to see [the Nittany Lions] get to come out here. There are a lot of different offers and a lot of different places, but that [offer] intrigued him.”
Fun fact No. 3: The kid looks awfully good in blue.
“I definitely think Penn State is the team to beat right now,” offered Blair Angulo, Mountain/Island regions recruiting analyst with 247Sports.com. “It’s a little bit surprising that he didn’t sign early.
“I know what was his intention for a long time, and I know that’s what he wanted to do for a long time, and that’s why he was taking some visits during the season … [part of the reason] was to get it over with and sign, but there have been a lot of different moving parts in his recruitment.”
One of Enis’ old prep teammates, Austin Jackson, a freshman tackle at USC, is trying sell him on a reunion in Los Angeles. He was a regular at Arizona State home games just a few miles from home, although the staff shakeup apparently makes the Sun Devils a wild card. He’d visited Utah this past October, while new Nebraska coach Scott Frost, more recently, left a present the family tree: An offer on Christmas day.
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) December 25, 2017
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) December 25, 2017
“[The Pac-12 schools], that’s been a little fuzzy, a little blurry,” Angulo said. “So definitely, that’s elevated Penn State and that’s why I think they’re the favorites right now. They’re the team to beat. But anytime a kid doesn’t sign early, you still have to figure out what they’ll do in January — he’ll still have three weekends to sort that out.
“But it could help him, as well, for him to be able to go out there and see them in person and see how the receivers move, how they’re used, what the formations are like and what it’s like for maybe the younger guys to get some playing time. It certainly can’t hurt to have a game right in his backyard, to have another opportunity to see them up close.”
Fun fact No. 4: Few prep defenders got the chance to see Solomon up close once he hit the gas. Justin also coaches North Canyon’s boys track team, and he clocked the younger Enis at 10.8 seconds in the 100. He used the kid outside, inside, at tailback, and even as a wildcat quarterback — anything to get the ball into his most talented player’s hands.
“What really stands out about him is his ability to run after the catch,” Justin said of the younger Enis, who was timed at a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, the coach noted, during his junior year. “Guys that big are usually not that agile the way he is. And once he gets the ball he’s a lot faster than sometimes he looks. Sometimes people can’t tell he’s that fast.
“When he gets the ball, and he hits the edge, he has a long stride. It’s very difficult for people, once he catches a pass, to stay close to him. Sometimes, that surprises me. I’m like, ‘Is he actually running hard right now? I can’t tell.’”
Fun fact No. 5: The special ones make it look easy.
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) December 7, 2017
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) December 14, 2017
Sometimes, the stars align. And sometimes, they bridge the past in ways you couldn’t make up if you stinking tried. While Solomon’s dad, who scored 3 touchdowns for Penn State in a rout of Texas in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, lives out east, the younger Enis resides with his mom and stepdad in the greater Phoenix area.
“He still has a relationship with his dad — I believe Curtis went on a recruiting trip also,” Justin said. “He has a relationship, but it’s a little bit long-distance. He’s probably closer to his mom at this point.
“I think he’d go his own way, but I think he really did like Penn State. I don’t think he liked it because his dad went there — I think he actually, really liked it. His dad going there is a bonus. It’s always great to maybe follow in your dad’s footsteps, but he actually liked Penn State — he said that right from the very first time he stepped on the campus that he loved it, everything about it.”