After most practices this spring, Solomon Enis weaves his way from the field, through the coaches’ offices, and slumps into a chair in Chad Bumphis’ film room.
Usually, the senior wide receiver will arrive before anyone gets there. Often, there is no film to even watch yet. So Enis waits for Bumphis, the Utes’ wide receivers coach, to finish up a meeting and arrive with fresh tape from the day.
Together, along with a few other receivers, they will go over critiques and emphasize small details. Last year, Bumphis would be doing this alone. This year, Enis and his group are waiting on him.
“He understands that, ‘Hey, I’m running out of time here,’” Bumphis said. “It’s like a light bulb has clicked. I gotta do what I want to do. He has been able to make some plays. And he is bringing the younger guys with him.”
This season for Enis is about finally realizing his potential. It has shown up in spurts, but has often disappeared too quickly for his liking. Now he is heading into his fifth, and final, season and is preparing for his last chance.
Enis came into Utah as a four-star prospect who expected to contribute immediately. He chose Utah over the likes of Penn State, USC, Ole Miss and Oregon. But he has never produced a year with more than 300 receiving yards or even 25 catches.
And if this is really his final opportunity to make a name for himself at Utah, Enis wants it to start by focusing on the details and being a person the coaches can trust.
“I have to be that guy the team can lean on,” Enis said, noting watching film is indicative of that.
It is no secret that Enis has dug himself a hole by underwhelming in his first four seasons. He is not the top wide receiver in spring camp this year — even on a team that relies more on tight ends than wideouts.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham has been honest — the wide receiver group is an open competition. Jaylen Dixon is the front-runner for the No. 1 job. And, if Whittingham is being truthful, he doesn’t know how much he can rely on anybody in the position group.
So it means Enis will have to fight just to get back before he can have a breakout year.
“Pressure makes diamonds right?” Enis said. “We have to rise to the occasion.”
This spring there have been early signs that Enis is at least winning in the first battle, and getting the coaches to trust him on the field.
Last week, the wide receivers room was having a bad string of practices. In years past, Enis would have let that slide or maybe even contributed to it. But by Saturday, Enis accepted the challenge by stepping up at the weekend scrimmage.
“That was maybe the highlight of the entire scrimmage, in my estimation,” Whittingham said. “The way the receivers made plays. That needed to happen and it was good to see it happen.”
These are small things, but they go a long way. Enis knows this spring will not make up for everything. And in order to be a starter, or get the chance to rewrite his story at Utah, it is an uphill battle.
But he is putting himself in the mix again, and that is all he can ask for.
“We just got to be consistent with it,” Enis finished. “We can’t just do it with scrimmages. We have to show it day-in and day-out at practice.”
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