Buck Solomon has never been a demonstrative football player.
Instead, the South Lake High School senior has spent his high school career quietly showing his teammates how to be a leader.
Solomon’s mantra of leading by example paid off on Feb. 5 when he signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Eastern Kentucky University during a signing ceremony in the South Lake auditorium filled with teammates, family and friends. He was the only signee for the Eagles following a 7-3 campaign in 2013, but coach Mark Woolum indicated that others could sign before the school year ends in June.
“I felt very comfortable when I made my visit to Eastern Kentucky,” Solomon said. “The coaching staff was wonderful and they talked about taking care of their players and making sure they graduate. I also like the way they talked about building something special up there and I want to be part of that process.
“It seemed like a great fit for me.”
Eastern Kentucky, an NCAA Football Championship Series subdivision school (formerly Division 1-AA), is in Richmond, Ky. The Colonels were 6-6 in 2013 and are coached by Dean Hood, who has been at the sch ool since 2008.
Solomon is one of six players signed by the Colonels from the state of Florida. South Lake coach Mark Woolum is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky.
“I didn’t put any pressure on him to become a Colonel,” Woolum said with a smile. “I want Buck to go where he feels comfortable. Fortunately for Eastern Kentucky, he really enjoyed his official visit and decided to make that his college of choice.
“I don’t think it will take long for Buck to make an impact up there and show everyone how good of a student-athlete he is.”
Solomon produced a solid career at South Lake. He did not play any sport as a freshman in order to get a solid start in the classroom, but has become a multi-sport standout, playing football, basketball, baseball and running track.
He also proved to be a multi-dimensional player for the Eagles. Solomon played quarterback as a junior, but voluntarily surrendered the position before his senior season and played a variety of positions, primarily wide receiver and defensive back.
Solomon played in the Central Florida East-West All Star games a senior and was named second team All-State defensive back and was a first team All-District wide receiver. In addition, he was among the top receivers in Central Florida, totaling more than 900 receiving yards and was named South Lake Most Valuable Player.
Perhaps his highlight as a senior occurred late in the Eagles’ game against district rival Leesburg. With South Lake deep in Yellow Jackets territory and trailing 24-21, Woolum had decided on fourth down to attempt a field goal and play for overtime.
Solomon, however, had different plans.
“Buck talked me out of the field goal,” Woolum said. “He told me that if we threw the ball in his direction, he would catch it.”
Solomon was true to his word and caught the game-winning pass in the corner of the end zone, despite being blanketed by a Yellow Jacket defender, to give South Lake a 28-24 victory.
“Buck has so much confidence in himself that he doesn’t feel there is anything on a football field that he can’t do,” Woolum said. “Most of the time, he’ll back up anything he says he can do. His teammates look up to him because of his work ethic. He’s a success on the field and in the classroom.
“He’s been such a
joy to coach and I’m proud that he will be a Colonel.”