Javon Solomon training, praying and waiting ahead of NFL Draft

Published 12:50 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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Troy defensive end Javon Solomon will see his lifelong dreams of becoming an NFL player come to fruition later this month but until then he says he’s simply training, praying and waiting.

Solomon, a Tallahassee, Fla., native, came to Troy out of Godby High School in 2019 as one of the most dominant pass rushers in the State of Florida. It didn’t take him long to become a force for the Trojan defense either.

As a redshirt freshman bandit linebacker in 2020, he earned All-Sun Belt honorable mention and then earned his first All-Sun Belt First Team honor in 2021 along with All American honors.

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In 2022, came a new head coach – Jon Sumrall – and he quickly realized that he had two elite pass rushers – Solomon and Richard Jibunor – that were being forced to split time at bandit.

“When we got here they were both playing bandit. They were both playing there and Javon was coming off a bit of an injury, so he didn’t go through spring or summer fully,” Sumrall recalled during the 2023 football season. “Then, six or seven games (into 2022) we started putting them on the field together on third down.”

Sumrall and his staff began moving Solomon to defensive end at times, a position he had played in high school. Then, in the offseason it became a permanent move so as to get Jibunor and Solomon on the field together as much as possible.

“We got to the offseason and I felt like I was an idiot when one of those guys would be standing on the sideline next to me instead of in the game,” said Sumrall. “Javon was very selfless and changed positions and moved to field (defensive end). Now, teams have to decide who do you want to chip or nudge or slide protection on. You have to make that decision and they compliment each other really well.”

That change led to Solomon leading the entire country with 16 sacks, also breaking the single season Sun Belt sack record and the Troy FBS sack record. The move also showed NFL scouts how versatile the 6-foot-2-inch, 249 pound pass rushing demon can be.

“I think it just gives (scouts) a better look at what I can do, understanding that I can play on the line or off the ball if need be,” Solomon said. “Just that true sense that I can do this or that, I’m a true football player. I really appreciate Coach Bam (Hardmon) and Coach Sumrall for giving me the opportunity to show my versatility that way.

“Because it truly was different for me. I had to learn the technique and everything behind something I hadn’t done in a long time. It did nothing but help me. Even now, coaches will ask me the reason for why I moved and it brings up that conversation about my versatility. It was truly a blessing for me.”

Solomon earned All-American and All-Sun Belt honors once again in 2023 and wrapped up his Troy career second in career sacks at Troy, second in career sacks in the Sun Belt and third in career tackles-for-loss at Troy. He tallied 183 tackles, 49.5 tackles-for-loss, 33 sacks, one interception, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries during his Trojan career.

Solomon, an always-positive individual, called his decision to come to Troy a “blessing.”

“The City of Troy is not Miami (Fla.) or Birmingham, it’s a small town with a bunch of people that care for you and love you and truly want the best for you in everything that you do,” Solomon said. “The time I spent in Troy I will never forget; I made countless friendships that will last a lifetime. The City of Troy – and the Troy program – puts you in that perspective of a family and team first mindset.

“The championships we won, and even the losses we suffered, helped build character and it did nothing but help me for the rest of my life. I truly appreciate this place; it’s special to me. Coming out of high school, I thank God I picked (Troy). I don’t know where I would be if not for that one decision I made.”

Since January, Solomon has thrown himself into the NFL Draft process. First, he competed down in Mobile as a part of the Senior Bowl. Then, he traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, and impressed coaches and scouts at the NFL Combine. He once again impressed at Troy’s Pro Day last month.

“Just growing up everyone has those dreams and to be able to start achieving those means a lot to me personally,” said Solomon. “I prayed for times like this, to be able to go to the Combine and meet people and coaches that I never thought I would meet. It was truly a blessing.

“I learned so much about myself and other people while I was there. The experience itself was crazy. You grow up seeing athletes you look up to running the 40s or doing verticals, and now you’re in that same place. I enjoyed it all.”

Solomon was happy with the feedback he’s received thus far from NFL scouts and coaches.

“I terms of my style of play, they really enjoy watching that and I was able to ask them a lot of things that I can do to better myself,” Solomon recalled. “A lot of the coaches were willing to give insight in how I can excel at the next level. It truly is different than college, so I got a lot of feedback about my technique; things I could tweak and improve on. To be able to get insight from those guys – some of them that played in the NFL for a long time themselves – is a blessing.”

The NFL Draft begins April 25 and Solomon has a pretty simple regiment heading into it.

“We’re training, praying and waiting,” he emphatically said. “That’s it right now. We’re doing those things and keeping things steadfast. I’m the type of guy that likes to live day by day and not rush things and get ahead of myself.

“I’m waking up and the first thing I do is a good prayer an then the next thing I do is train and we’ll take everything day by day until the draft comes.”

Solomon said he’d remain in Troy while he trains and was thankful of new head coach Gerad Parker for allowing him to remain here to do so.

“I feel like the coaches have been great to allow me to come back and use the facility and weight room and all; they’ve been really open arms to me,” Solomon said. “There’s some things in Troy I wouldn’t be able to get back at home as far as treatment and accessibility to a big weight room like we have here.”

With the draft coming up, Solomon said he’s planning to spend the day with his friends and family back at home.

“As a kid you see the big parties and everyone going crazy; all that is nice but I just want to have my family there and just have good energy and good vibes like we do at home,” he said. “Nothing crazy but we’ll be sitting down and enjoying company and waiting on that phone call.”