Solorio wide receiver Messiah Travis now has the peace of mind that previously eluded him.
He had to leave Harper, his first high school, under duress after he came to the aid of a girlfriend who had been accosted by a gang member.
Due to his involvement, he became a target of that gang, so he had to remove himself from the situation. Travis left Harper for Solorio.
“Since I left, everything has been great,” Travis said. “I have my [driver’s] license now, so I drive to practice and to school. I don’t feel threatened now.”
Travis wanted to attend Solorio initially, but a clerical error led to him attending his neighborhood school, Harper in West Englewood.
“I got his application mixed up with another kid’s application,” former Solorio coach Matt Lawson said. “The application I saw was of a kid who had bad grades. I knew that wasn’t going to fly. Later, Harper and Solorio had a 7-on-7 scrimmage, and he’s just tearing us up. We couldn’t cover the kid. After that, I wished we could’ve gotten him in.”
Two games into the season, Solorio has hit the ground running by outscoring its opponents 71-6.
After Travis started to make a name for himself, much like his friend and former Solorio standout Quincy Patterson, college programs became interested.
“I got bigger, stronger, faster,” Travis said. “I came in 5-9”, 150 pounds. I’m 5-10, 170 now. I’ve been doing contact drills. Receiver is my best position. I’ve worked on my receiving skills. Receiver will be my position in college. I want to work on the footwork and get stronger.”
Travis recently committed to NIU. He wanted to stay close to family so they can see him play.
“My mom doesn’t like long drives,” Travis said. “Only my dad does. I wanted my mom to watch me play college ball, so I decided to stay close to home.”
Now he says the clerical error is in the past as he looks towards the future, which includes winning a lot of games with the Sun Warriors and preparing for life in DeKalb.
“When I got to Solorio I had to adjust to everything,” Travis said. “Now, I’m doing great when it comes to academics. Football wise, I’m on a great football team. I’m going to NIU when I graduate, so things are going well.”
Solorio’s next game is Saturday against Westinghouse.
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