Arizona Football: The Curious Case of Anu Solomon


Third down and goal from the eight-yard line, no time-outs, 14 seconds left on the clock, Arizona football quarterback Anu Solomon drops back..

Anu Solomon has led his team into scoring position for the umpteenth time in a season full of surprises and dramatic finishes. He took the snap and rolled right, one receiver ran a slant then reversed field but remained covered, Cayleb Jones ran around frantically in the end zone but he, too, was double teamed. Anu, as he had all season, attempted to make something out of nothing. Unfortunately for Wildcats fans he made a possible Boise State victory a certainty as he took a sack that allowed time to run out.

Sep 19, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez talks to quarterback Anu Solomon (12) during the first quarter against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Arizona Stadium. Arizona won 77-13. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

A play Anu would love to have back but wants desperately to forget.

Such is the mystery of a quarterback that provides so many highs and lows throughout the course of a season and so far throughout his career.  He scrambled making multiple people miss to throw a strike to Johnny Jackson for a score against UTSA, and fans said ooooh! Then, later in the season, as the Wildcats drove to take a commanding lead over USC on the road in the Coliseum, he lobbed a pass into the air seemingly to no one, and it was intercepted. What did fans say then?

Of course, in Anu’s case, his errors always seem to be magnified. In this game against USC, the very next play happened to be a 72-yard strike for the touchdown from Cody Kessler to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Momentum vanquished, undeniably leaving many heads in the hands of frustrated Wildcats fans. Ughhhh!

Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon (12)against the Southern California Trojans at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Through the ups and downs, Anu always stays positive, which can drive people crazy even though at every level of sport you are taught to ‘never show the other team that you are emotional’, then people judge a kid for doing just that! When asked if the criticism bothers him he said, “I am in a position where I will take all the success and all the hate too, I know my part, but sometimes a little bit gets to me, but I just want to go to the board and draw this and draw that.”

The board he is referring to is the white board used by quarterbacks to draw up schemes and ideas to be used in games ahead, as a quarterback it’s about as important a tool for improvement as your arm.

At times, we forget that these are still young men trying to find their way.  A lot of pressure is put on student-athletes to perform, and there is no one position in the country that has more eyes focused on it than the quarterback for a nationally ranked football team.  That is a lot to deal with for the often misunderstood Solomon.

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He is seen as nonchalant and not passionate enough by some fans.  Funny thing is those sentiments are exact replicas about fellow Hawaiian and friend Marcus Mariota, the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback and 1st round draft pick, and he seems to be doing just fine.

Despite the doubters as to whether Anu is the answer at quarterback for the Wildcats, he presses on.  This past weekend against USC Solomon moved past Keith Smith for fourth place all-time in career passing yards.  He is also drastically low in the interception list with only 12 in his career, which statistically he would be on pace for a much higher touchdown to interception ratio than the great Nick Foles.

Against USC, Solomon seemed to come to life and play the way we have expected him to this entire season, which bodes well considering a hungry Utah team is coming into Tucson trying to gain ground in the College Football Playoff.  Quite the opposite in relation to where these two teams were at this point last year.

Oct 10, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon (12) high fives fans during the wildcat walk before the game against the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

These days, as the team continues to try to find their way among the rash of injuries and inconsistency, Jarrett Pekelo Kahanuolaokalani “Anu” Solomon Jr. has relied on his friends and family for support to get through the days.  “I have a group of friends that I call my ‘Day ones’ that have been there since the struggles and good times, and I am very fortunate to have them in my life,” said Anu as he smiles and relishes the opportunity to speak about the people that love and support him.

His Grandmother, who he has not seen very much, was able to come out to a game as well as his Uncle, who helped raise him as well as coached him during his Pop Warner football days.  All in all Anu cherishes the time he gets with his family and friends and wants for them to be a part of wherever the journey of his life takes him.

Some things can’t be measured, and character is one of them.  Though his decision making on the field from time to time can make you pull your hair out, you can not deny that Anu Solomon represents everything that is right about a student-athlete at the University of Arizona and within its football program.

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He is a Business Major but his passion does not lie with making money; it is simply to give back. “I just want to be like a little entrepreneur…give back to the people that gave back to me…hopefully I am successful enough to give back to the people I love, I am just so extremely blessed to have everything I have right now,” said Solomon.  Anu has football ahead of him, sure, but his refreshing look on life and appreciation for being in the moment and taking advantage of the times of life that you can’t get back is inspiring to be sure.

Anu doesn’t need a Hail Mary to succeed in life, he already has!