Kaidon Salter Speaks About Second Chances & Personal Growth
College is about learning and growing. Former Cedar Hill quarterback Kaidon Salter is doing both.
One could say he’s doing so the hard way, but he prefers to say that is behind him now. At Liberty University he’s found new life on the football field and, well, in life.
Salter, a four-star standout at Cedar Hill, was one of the top football players in the United States. The University of Tennessee was one of many colleges highly seeking him out to come play for their program.
Excitement was rampant in Knoxville. The QB who was going to return the Volunteers to national prominence had arrived on the scene. Then, just as quickly as he arrived, he was gone.
Salter arrived in Knoxville in January. By June he was gone after two run-ins with the police, the latter after being caught with marijuana just days after he was reinstated to the football program.
He was gone. His dreams of playing in America’s toughest conference, the Southeast Conference, were gone. The Volunteers’ hopes of returning to elite status were also vanquished.
A Chance At Redemption Playing For Liberty
Salter entered the NCAA transfer portal, where Liberty coach Hugh Freeze saw a second chance to bring him onboard (he had recruited Salter out of high school), along with giving the youngster one last chance at redemption.
It has worked out so far. Salter saw his first game action recently when Flames starting quarterback Malik Willis got injured. Though it wasn’t a lot of playing time, Salter showed what he is capable of doing on a college football field.
Salter threw two passes, completing one for a 39-yard touchdown. He rushed three times for 47 yards, including a 38-yard run. It helped the Flames defeated the University of Massachusetts 62-17 to improve to 7-2.
Patience, Trust, Lessons On and Off The Field
“It was a great feeling being able to get back out on the field, knowing I’ve still got it, showing everybody else I’ve still got it,” Salter said afterward. “With everything that’s going on, I’m letting everybody know I’m still trusting the process, doing what I can, being patient, waiting my time, coming out here, watching and learning.”
Salter isn’t just talking football. He’s also talking about life. He understands what happened at Tennessee was about as bad a start to a college career as a player could have. He’s stressed he’s working hard to make sure it stays in his rearview mirror, but he’s also not forgetting what happened as he moves ahead in life, he said.
“That’s all I can, come here and learn. I’m still young. I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said.
Coach Lynn Continues To Support Salter
Meanwhile, back home, one of his biggest supporters is his high school coach, Carlos Lynn. He believes the best is yet to come for his former Longhorn star.
“Great start to a great career,” Lynn said. “He will do very well at Liberty when his time comes.”
A player with Salter’s talent would likely have also been given another chance at another school. However, he said Liberty was the right place at the right time. It also helped, he said, that his good friend and fellow former Longhorn Amarian Williams is also a freshman defensive back on the Flames’ roster.
“He was one of the people who helped me get here. Once he saw I was in the portal he told me that Liberty was a good place for me to come, a Christian school, come change my ways,” Salter said. “As soon as he said that I hopped on it.”
Salter described the atmosphere at Liberty as “lovely.”
“A whole bunch of love from the coaching staff, the players,” he said. “You can tell a big difference by how I’m behaving, how I’m changing with my personality and who I’m becoming.
“Coach Freeze is a blessing. He gave me an opportunity. I’m going to do everything I can to stand up to my word.”