This is an all-timer.
I've written this post before. Then-four-star Lee County (GA) DT Aubrey Solomon committed to Michigan on June 18th, 2016, catching everyone, including his own mother, off guard. He rescinded that pledge in August after receiving a note from Michigan thanking him for attending the BBQ at the Big House—an event he did not attend—that, to add insult to carelessness, contained multiple misspellings of his name. His mother, who didn't accompany him on the visit to Ann Arbor when he made his initial commitment, would be playing a larger role in his recruitment, he said. In-state Georgia was now the favorite. Since then, Solomon:
- Took a September unofficial to Georgia, after which his mother gave an extensive, glowing interview to UGA's 247 outlet.
- Told 247 "I love the Crimson Tide" and said he knew of three official visits: Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia.
- Missed a planned visit to Georgia to take the SAT.
- Said Georgia "sticks out."
- Set a Michigan official visit out of the blue, took it, and named them his new leader.
- Said he'd been to Georgia enough that he no longer needed to take an official there but was considering multiple unofficials to Athens.
- Officially visited Alabama for the Iron Bowl, a trip he'd later call "eye-opening."
- Set official visits to USC, Florida, and Georgia for January.
- Arrived at the Army Bowl, where he said Bama held a "huge" lead.
- While at the Army Bowl, said "f*** Michigan" on the Periscope stream of Georgia commit (and one-time Michigan commit) Jeremiah Hollomon.
- Apologized for the above.
- Still at the Army Bowl, his mother gave a multi-part interview to Sam Webb in which she said Michigan and Alabama were "neck and neck" while strongly insinuating she preferred the academics in Ann Arbor.
- Hosted multiple Alabama coaches the day before his USC OV.
- Hosted Jim Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh's daughter Addie, and Chris Partridge for an in-home visit that featured family go-karting.
- Hosted Alabama coaches on two more occasions in January, including a visit from Nick Saban, Tosh Lupoi, and two more Bama assistants just before the dead period.
- Committed to Michigan.
Oh, and somewhere in there, Solomon had a dominant senior season and Army Bowl week that resulted in his ascension to five-star status.
Needless to say, this recruitment defied convention and expectation. Solomon's Crystal Ball tracker is reminiscent of a KenPom win chart from a wild late comeback:
Solomon is Michigan's 28th commit in the 2017 class and the third at DT, joining James Hudson and Phil Paea. SDEs Donovan Jeter and Deron Irving-Bey could also slide inside if needed. Solomon slots in behind early enrollee Donovan Peoples-Jones as the second-highest rated recruit in the class.
5*, #2 DT,
5*, #2 DT,
4*, 84, #5 DT,
5*, 98, #3 DT,
5*, #2 DT,
Hot damn. Solomon is a five-star to every site save ESPN, which has barely moved Solomon since his initial commitment (he was #61 at the time), probably because they haven't updated his evaluation for his senior season. Fire-and-forget at its finest.
Solomon, who's listed at either 6'3" or 6'4" on the four sites, played at over 300 pounds in his junior year, then shed some bad weight and played at closer to 285 in his senior season. He's ahead of the game in the process of building himself up to ideal weight and build.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
This is just going to cover the developments since Solomon's initial commitment, both because there's a full Hello post from then and there's a lot to cover from his monster senior year.
Over the summer, when Solomon was still a Michigan commit, his coach gave The Wolverine's Brandon Brown a warning:
"He had to get his knee scoped last summer so he wasn’t able to start playing until the season basically started," Fabrizio explained. "He really wasn’t in the type of shape that he needed to be in. He’s leaned up and he looks great. The film you saw last year, he was a great player, but you’ll see a much better player this year because his conditioning is on another level.
"Kids who weigh 300 pounds need to be out there running and conditioning and he didn’t really get to do that heading into last year. I think it’s going to be night and day last year versus this year. You’re going to see a much-improved player this fall from what you saw on film last year."
Solomon was already a composite top-100 player; his coach was still right. Scout only needed to see six games of Solomon's senior season before bestowing a fifth star upon him. Chad Simmons:
Solomon now plays at 290 pounds and he is quick as a cat for someone at that weight, standing at 6-foot-3.
Through six games, Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County is 6-0 and Solomon already has 45 tackles, 15 big hits, 13 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 touchdown.
Solomon is healthy and he is a nightmare for opposing offenses. He has made play after play this season. He plays with a motor that does not stop and he is about as balanced of a defensive tackle as you will see.
Rivals followed suit in December, moving him up from #91 overall at the time of his initial commitment into five-star territory:
“In a year where elite defensive tackles are hard to come by, one look at Solomon and you can see that he's got the potential to be a special talent. After playing both ways as a junior, he has excelled while focusing solely on defensive line as a senior. He's a big body that can move and create problems as a pass-rusher as well as stop the run, something that is hard to find in a player his size. Michigan, Georgia and Alabama are among the schools battling for his services.” - Wommack
Solomon backed up his new five-star reputation at the Army Bowl. Both Scout and 247 named him one of the top performers on each of the first two days—he only lost one one-on-one rep in the combined East/West practice—and when it was all said and done he was the first player listed on Scout's top overall performers from the week:
Solomon came into the week as one of the top defensive tackles in the 2017 class and he looked like it for the majority of his time in Texas. He was 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 backfield whether or not it was a team drills, one-on-ones or during scrimmage sessions. He wasn'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. Solomon has the chance to be an instant-impact defender at the next level.
247 has some video of his practice reps; he looked dominant against some of the best OL prospects in the country:
247's Barton Simmons, in a post comparing Army Bowl standouts to players in the national title game, matched Solomon up with disruptive 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. The South Georgia native 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. Alabama is currently the favorite to land Solomon.
They bumped Solomon up 11 spots in their final rankings, also giving him the coveted fifth star. Rivals, oddly, didn't have a full Army week scouting report on Solomon, but Mike Farrell said afterwards that he's one of the five-star prospects with the lowest chance of being a bust:
31. DT Aubrey Solomon – LOW – Gap-shooting athletic defensive tackles will always see the field.
The scouts across the board give rave reviews; this still might undersell the quality of his senior film.
Solomon had an offer sheet befitting a five-star: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, and USC, among others. He undoubtedly had several that he didn't even bother reporting. Solomon could've gone wherever he wanted.
The only Lee County prospect to precede Solomon as a four-star in the Rivals database is 2006 FSU ATH signee D'Vontrey Richardson, who wound up pursuing a professional baseball career. Michigan already has a commitment from four-star 2018 Lee County OLB/S Otis Reese, who looks like the ideal VIPER in Don Brown's defense. Getting Solomon certainly can't hurt M's efforts to keep Reese in the fold.
According to Scout, Solomon finished his senior season with 75 tackles, 16 TFLs, ten sacks, and a defensive touchdown.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout lists a verified 40 time of 5.47 seconds, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. That was the same time they had listed when he made his initial commitment, so I wouldn't be surprised if Solomon is faster now that he's shed some weight.
Solomon's senior highlights are a wow experience:
Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Even if Michigan didn't have a huge need for DT depth, Solomon is the caliber of player who'd see the field right away and make a positive impact. As it is, he's the odds-on favorite to back up Maurice Hurst at three-tech. Down the road, he should bulk up enough to be an extremely disruptive nose tackle who can line up in multiple spots on the D-line. It would be an upset if he's not a high NFL draft pick after three productive seasons.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's got Aubrey friggin' Solomon in it.
With Mekhi Becton to Louisville and Willie Gay to Mississippi State, we're now just waiting on four-star AL WR Nico Collins to announce his decision at 2:30. That should wrap things up barring any late surprises.