Clinton Solomon: "I am Back"

Many of us have stories of second chances in our lives that really helped turn things around for the better. Clinton Solomon just experienced his second chance at redemption over the course of the last year. He was kicked out of school at Iowa for poor academic performance and wound up at Iowa Central Community College in 2003 after showing promise as a true freshman in 2002 in Iowa City. After a year's worth of solid classwork and a commitment to Kirk Ferentz, Solomon is back as a Hawkeye.

"I am officially back. I will be reporting tomorrow and I will start working out again with the team on Monday, so yes, I am back."

Q: Was it a situation where Iowa was waiting to see how your grades turned out this spring ?

"Yes sir. It was all based on how Coach Ferentz felt about my grades. I guess that he did not want to put it out in the open that I was planning to come back, because we did not know for sure that I would be coming back, so that was not a bad idea."

"My main thing was that if I held up my end of the deal, coach Ferentz was going to hold up his. So I took care of my business here so he gave me a second chance."

Q: How do you feel that Iowa gave you that chance after squandering it the first time around?

"Once Coach Ferentz gave me that second chance, I really appreciated that. Because a lot of kids that got kicked out their first year did not get a chance to come back, from what I understand. I am just thankful that he gave me that chance, and I appreciate the things that he has done for me. I appreciate him giving me that chance. Looking at Coach Ferentz doing this for me, I think he is a great guy. Not just because he did this for me, but also because he gave me the chance to earn it."

Q: Why do you think he gave you that chance where others have not been so fortunate?

"I really can't say, but I think some things you see in certain people. He probably knew that I could do the work, but that I was a dumb kid and got distracted a little bit. But he knows that I am a good kid and that I can do the work. He just gave me the chance to show to them that I could do that and I appreciate that a lot."

Q: What will be different for you this time around?

"I am going to be a different person. I am going to be a student before I am an athlete. Before, it was the other way around. I will take care of my business in the classroom, and I think that will help make things easier for me on the football field because I can relax and not worrying about falling behind."

Q: What was your mother's reaction when she heard you had made it back?

"She was so happy and proud that I stuck with it. She wanted me to stick with it, and she was happy to hear that coach Ferentz gave me that chance."

Q: How do you think it will feel to run out onto the field at Kinnick Stadium again in September?

"Man…(you could hear him smiling through his words) I will have that monkey off of my back from Junior College. And just coming out of the tunnel with the other players is going to be special. I will be very happy that I will be back with the Hawkeye family once again and try to bring home another Big Ten championship."

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