2017 Recruiting: Aubrey Solomon Comment Count

Brian July 17th, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE Deron Irving-Bey, DT Donovan Jeter, DT Phil Paea, DT James Hudson.

Leesburg, GA – 6'3", 300

                         576ad232e4af9.image          

Scout 5*, #11 overall
#2 DT, #2 GA
Rivals 5*, #31 overall
#2 DT, #4 GA
ESPN 4*, #63 overall
#5 DT, #7 GA
24/7 5*, #30 overall
#3 DT, #3 GA
Other Suitors Bama, UGA, USC, UF, Auburn
YMRMFSPA Ryan Glasgow
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Hello post from Ace. Do not adjust your television sets.
Notes Twitter. A rare decommit-recommit.

Film

Junior:

Senior:

Aubrey Solomon's recruiting saga was easily the weirdest of this cycle and has to be amongst the most stupefying of all time. Step by step:

  1. Solomon is all but unknown to Michigan fans before an unofficial visit on which he was so enamored that he ducked into a bathroom to get his mom's permission to commit. He commits; that fact is the first thing about him ever posted on this here site.
  2. Months later Solomon decommits, citing a thank you letter that 1) misspelled his name and 2) enthusiastically thanked him for attending an event he was not, in fact, at.
  3. Everyone, including this here site, writes Michigan off because recommits are exceedingly rare (7%) and five-star out-of-region recommits who pulled the trigger prematurely and have very obviously committable offers from a bunch of SEC teams including Alabama are even rarer. Michigan continues pursuing and does secure an official visit.
  4. Solomon's mom releases a questionnaire she wants Michigan to answer comprehensively in the run-up to his official visit. This is widely seen as an effect of mom's skepticism about her son moving so far away.
  5. Michigan, King Of All Spreadsheets, crushes the questionnaire and the official visit, resulting in renewed optimism.
  6. Solomon names Alabama a "huge" leader at the Army game. Womp womp.
  7. The next day another dude at the game tapes him dropping a "F--- Michigan" and posts it on snapchat. Solomon apologizes, but, you know, I mean… game over man. Game over.
  8. 24/7's Ryan Bartow moves his crystal ball on Solomon to Michigan. This is followed by the most improbable shift in opinion your author's ever seen, with everyone and their aunt putting their chips on Michigan despite, you know, that stuff above.
  9. Harbaugh races go-karts with small child, who naturally seems delighted.
  10. Solomon does indeed commit to Michigan on signing day… even if he did say "Miami."

This is how the five star sausage was made.

Michigan's ability to navigate the absurdity of crootin has won them a tube meat of great talent and significance. Over the course of his senior season Solomon went from a generally well-regarded four star just outside the top 100 to a composite five-star and the #2 DT in the nation.

He did this by shredding double teams and inserting himself in backfields across Georgia. His rise started with his 2016 opener, which multiple sites scouted. 24/7:

…totally dominant. …outstanding motor, physicality and quickness. During a cycle in which the defensive tackle position doesn't have a lot of depth, Solomon is one of the rare interior defenders that would be among the best in the country in any recruiting class.

Scout:

consistently pushing offensive linemen backwards, pushing the pocket back, forcing the running backs to change their lanes, and forcing the quarterback … [in] great shape 295 pounds, and he played fast.  He flashed great quickness off the ball and a motor that did not stop. … has to refine his technique, and play with better pad level, but he has great size, quickness and strength.

Per Chad Simmons, Solomon's leap was fueled by some early injury problems. A knee scope before his junior season prevented him from going all-out in his conditioning, so he played that year at 310. He was "still effective and a real presence in the trenches," but the extra weight obscured the fact that he's "quick as a cat" for a battleship-sized human and has "a motor that does not stop."

"Motor" is 3/3 in the above links and that assertion didn't stop there. Virtually every scouting report out there goes out of its way to talk about Solomon's unusual ability to go all out on every play. When 24/7 made him a five star they mentioned that he "plays really hard on Friday nights," which is "rare among the big boys in high school"; Scout notes that "he plays hard and fast for a guy his size." One caveat: he did not play both ways as a senior, which is at least somewhat unusual for big time linemen. But he's demonstrated an ability to eat up all of his team's defensive snaps, which won't be required at Michigan. He should enter as an unusually fit and durable DT.

He'll also enter as a penetrating terror. Scout called him the "most athletic defensive tackle in the country" in a couple rave reviews:

really knows how to use his quickness and suddenness  …He has good anticipation and he reacts quickly in the trenches. He flashes the use of his hands, but he needs to improve that, and his moves to counter offensive linemen. …most effective with his quickness. Really gets up the field. Can make plays in the backfield. Gets consistent penetration.

They named him one of their All-Americans. 24/7 compared him to Clemson DT Carlos Watkins:

Watkins is your prototypical 6-foot-3, 305-pound 3-technique who plays with elite quickness and motor up front. This week that's been exactly what Aubrey Solomon's identity has been. …has just been unblockable, showing a knack both for getting big and being stout up front but also for getting skinny and being a penetrator in the backfield.

His coach had a line down pat when asked about his protege:

"there are not many guys like him who have his size but also the flexibility, explosiveness, and most importantly, the ability to play with leverage."

A version of that line hit three different sites, and was not contradicted by any of the scouts. 24/7 praised his "twitchy first step and natural strength"; Mike Farrell described him as a "gap-shooting athletic DT"; Sam Webb saw him in person and reported back that he was "a load" for anyone to take on one-on-one and that he "could excel as both a one-gap pas rusher or a two-gap nose"; Rivals called him a "big body that can move and create problems as a pass rusher as well as stop the run."

The only note of slight dissent is from ESPN, and this is a situation where they get out of whack because they fire and forget on players. Solomon's evaluation and ranking essentially did not change from Solomon's first commitment to his second. The evaluation is littered with ESPN caveat words:

…very good playing strength and can be inconsistent, but flashes a quick first-step.  …Can fire off and capable at times of disrupting with quick penetration. Can be stout as well when he wins with quickness and leverage, flashing ability to explode out and uncoil at contact. … can quickly get off the ball and get up-field and disrupt. … Has tools to be disruptive interior rusher, but needs to continue to refine and be more consistent. … tough player with good motor and range. … impressive flashes but inconsistent. … Has tools and motor to be a real disruptive DT.

Almost literally every sentence in the eval is "good thing but consistency." That's not necessarily a bad take, but it frustrates that ESPN won't check back in on him with some senior film when the rest of the world is talking about him being a new man and his coach tells Rivals that "he was dominant as a senior" and "definitely played his best football." As always, you have to take the good with the bad with ESPN. Anyway.

Solomon solidified his newfound status at the Army game, where he did the same kinds of things against the best OL the country has to offer. 24/7 repeatedly mentioned him in their daily practice recap articles, first asserting that he "didn’t disappoint, splitting double teams with ease in the team portion, showing elite quickness and high energy throughout the day" and then doubling down: "continues to have a stellar week … extremely explosive off the ball and relentless from the 3-technique position."

Scout concurred, citing "excellent get-off and close-quarters quickness" and naming him one of their top performers at midweek

…in the backfield all week. His quickness off the ball has made him tough to contend with. The West linemen did a solid job on him in one on ones, but for the most part, he has been behind the line of scrimmage making plays.

…and after the game week was over:

…a bit lighter than he had been and it was evident with his quickness, especially through the first handful of practices, where he lived in the backfieldwasn't as effective in the power game, though he showed some signs of lower-body strength, and he was open about needing to round out his game as the week wore on.

He rose on the composite afterward.

Solomon did not enroll early but did join the team early in the summer for conditioning and has been around for camps and the like. He caught Steve Lorenz's eye as a gent who "looks ready" and "should be ready to contribute sooner rather than later." He told Nick Baumgardner that he's in the same mode he was before his senior year:

He'll begin fall camp working at nose tackle, but says he'll probably get some work in at the three-technique as well.

And right now, with a little more than a month left before the start of fall camp, conditioning is his biggest focal point.

"I need to shed about 10 or 15 pounds and then I'll feel more comfortable," Solomon says. "I'm 300 now, I want to play at about 285 or 290. I know I feel smoother down there at 285 or 290."

He's likely to hit that goal and then Michigan will build him back up into a 300 or 310 pound interior obliterator over the next couple years.

Etc.: Soccer was not in his future:

"Before football came into the picture, I was the head coach of his soccer team," Caldwell, Solomon's mother, said Tuesday. "We were pretty good actually."

Solomon sees that differently.

"We were horrible," Solomon said. "We were not good. She was my first coach and we had our ups-and-downs as a team. But as a whole, it got me better as a person. It showed me about teamwork. But I am not going to lie to you - we were horrible."

Why Ryan Glasgow? Solomon is a super-athletic, quick-twitch penetrator of a nose tackle, and Glasgow was exactly that. Glasgow also had the most relentless motor and biggest range of any NT in recent Michigan history, both traits that are repeatedly mentioned above. The two are also basically identical in height and weight.

Glasgow was a walk-on, of course, and not a five-star. Small details. Solomon does have more upside, I guess? Glasgow was a technician and a jet but lacked the ability to simply overpower people at will like a Malik McDowell. Solomon could be a man who does both, per a couple of those reports above.

The other obvious comparable is Mike Martin, who was Glasgow before Glasgow. Other than those two it's difficult to find a modern-era (ie: not 250 pound) Michigan nose tackle who promises to be a backfield flash. FWIW, 24/7 compared him to Florida DT Caleb Brantley, who you may remember from the most recent Citrus Bowl.

Guru Reliability: Very high. All Star game, zero projection, spread is minor and mostly due to ESPN fire and forget.

Variance: Low-plus. Solomon is physically ready to go now. Sophomore and junior injuries are a minor concern but seem to be in the rear view.

Ceiling: Very high. It's Ryan Glasgow, but more so.

General Excitement Level: Very high. If you could have told me I could have any player vaguely connected to Michigan in the last recruiting cycle I would have picked Solomon because of his plug-and-play ability at Michigan's position of dire need. (Runner up: Isaiah Wilson. : / )

Projection: Your backup NT for the next two years, knock on wood about Mone's limbs. Likely to be a true backup this year and then a co-starter in year two; in year three he should be the starter and very very good. 50/50 he's an early entry. Could field some NT competition from Hudson this year, with Paea and Jeter potential NTs in a couple years. Hard to imagine anyone slides past him unless he's perpetually injured.

On a different roster could be a three-tech, but he's on this one.

Comments

Brimley

July 17th, 2017 at 12:49 PM ^

Our DL rotation for the foreseeable future must have BIG QBs signing up for Life Alert at record numbers.  As great as Solomon looks to be, the cast as a whole is astonshing.

WestQuad

July 17th, 2017 at 2:51 PM ^

We have a lot of Dudes.   Gary, Winovich, Hurst, Mone are great, but with Solomon, Luigi Vilain, Hudson, DIB, Paea, and Jeter you figure we've got a lot of guys with potential to break through.     I wonder if Vilain is going to be big enough to play this year, or if he redshirts to put on weight.  

 

Bummer Corey Malone-Hatcher had to hang it up.   Wonder if he rehabs for a year or two if he could come back or if he's done forever.  

conradb42

July 17th, 2017 at 3:12 PM ^

Vilain is ready physically. 

I'm hoping Mone stays healthy and can be a Hurst/Henry in 2018. All these Dudes are back except Hurst next year. I think we will have several pics to hang up next to Alan Branch v. PSU and Frank Clark v OSU.

MGoBlue-querque

July 17th, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

Just when you think crootin' can't get any weirder, all of what went down with Solomon happens AND he sticks with Michigan!!! Crootin, like Twitter, is the best and worst thing all at the same time.

BakkerUSMC

July 17th, 2017 at 1:05 PM ^

...is almost fully operational. Next year will be incredible, we have Dwumfour and some others not mentioned waiting to crack the rotation as well. Very excited to see the effect Rashan Gary's leadership and example plays on the development of the younger guys coming in as well, hopefully all those intangibles get passed on too

Kevin13

July 17th, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

but think he's a year away from showing his 5* talent and being a monster on the inside. I honestly wouldn't be shocked to see him play in a couple of games early and then get a lower body injury and get a RS.

He needs to loose some bad weight and not sure he can be built up enough in about 6 weeks to be physically ready to do damage.  He needs some work on his technique as most of what I saw was just bull rushing smaller high school lineman. He's going to need better technique to dominate at the next level.

Give this kid a year in UM S&C program and working on technique with Mattison and then I see him plugging in for Hurst in 2018 and maybe being even more dominate.  Very bright future and can be a 3 year main stay on our DL.

JeepinBen

July 17th, 2017 at 1:21 PM ^

In year 1, 2016 Rashan Gary is the ceiling. There was a really good deep dive on here for Rashan - just how good are 5* DEs in year one? If he is as good this year as Rashan was last year (viable backup with limited drop off) that's outstanding. Year 2 & 3? Look out.

MichiganTeacher

July 17th, 2017 at 2:04 PM ^

I mean, I'm sure you can imagine. $$$, one way or the other.

The insider wasn't me - I'm no insider - but I did happen to talk to some people around Isaiah this year. My personal opinion, reading between the lines and not a direct quote, so take it for what it's worth, but my personal opinion is that the suspicions of shady stuff are definitely warranted. Nothing terrible, nothing I would even get mad at my own kids for. Just the kind of stuff the NCAA should allow anyway, again in my opinion.

LabattsBleu

July 17th, 2017 at 2:11 PM ^

Solomon was the guy i wanted the most for this class, with DPJ a close second...

really excited to see him on the line the same time as gary/hurst...

This line is going to be a terror this year i think...

Birdman

July 17th, 2017 at 2:23 PM ^

M could have a five year streak of DLs gone in the first round before too long. I mean at that point you have to assume it would just continue to suck top talent to M.

dragonchild

July 17th, 2017 at 2:37 PM ^

Maybe more Mike Martin than Glasgow?  I only see one mention of Solomon's range and it's ESPN.  Glasgow was the rangiest Michigan NT I ever remember seeing.  Range wasn't Martin's weakness in the context of DT but he was more of a Become Death, Destroyer of O-lines, which seems to fit Solomon's profile.  If Solomon has Glasgow's range but more upside. . . he's not a football player; he's a damn cheat code.

As for playing 3T, a lot of these need the caveat that Michigan prefers all linemen play at least two positions if at all possible.  He'll probably play there in some odd formations just to get some burn-in, but I see him primarily at NT.

Mongo

July 17th, 2017 at 3:01 PM ^

This guy needs to play early so he and Mone are ready for that November grind. As far as conditioning, he will have had almost 9 weeks in Tolbert's program by end of fall camp. He should be ready to compete versus Florida as Mone's backup.

Mr. Yost

July 17th, 2017 at 8:49 PM ^

Get him some snaps early on in the year...some mop up duty.

By the time the Buckeyes come to town, he's a rotation player ready to make some big time plays.

MGo Virgin

July 17th, 2017 at 11:11 PM ^

Brian,

 

You have Solomon's excitement level as Very High. You also have Hudson's excitement level as Very High. How excited/outraged should I be? Please tell me what to think.