Aubrey Solomon, Ex-Wolverine

Aubrey Solomon, Ex-Wolverine


December 17, 2018

Sophomore defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon is reportedly transferring. Solomon appeared in eighteen games over his first two seasons, making 24 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in a Michigan uniform. Despite being a former 5-star recruit, he was never able to break into the starting lineup. Solomon is the 13th highest rated recruit to sign with Michigan in the modern recruiting era, coming in at #25 overall in the 2017 class (LINK).

Solomon’s departure is a big blow to a team that was already losing and missing some big-time defensive linemen. Michigan loses Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary, Lawrence Marshall, and Bryan Mone were all starters, and Solomon was expected to step into a starting role in 2019. Now the Wolverines will have to switch some positions, bulk guys up, and attempt to fill the gaping hole at defensive tackle. Michael Dwumfour is a natural defensive tackle, but other potential tackles like Donovan Jeter, Carlo Kemp, Kwity Paye, and Aidan Hutchinson are inexperienced. Michigan will need to play true freshmen (such as Mazi Smith).

One unconventional fix I might explore is the idea of moving offensive guard Michael Onwenu to nose tackle. Onwenu is roughly 350 lbs. and a very powerful player, but there are some questions about whether he can be effective long-term at guard. Some insiders have even suggested that he might be replaced at right guard next season. If Michigan has a viable option at right guard and if Onwenu’s NFL prospects on the offensive line are dwindling, maybe he could spend a year at nose tackle. (Full disclosure: I’ve thought since Onwenu was recruited that he would make a better nose tackle than offensive guard, but now the team needs might make that a viable option.)

Michigan took 30 players in the 2017 class, and they are now down to 22 still remaining on the team. Solomon joins LB Drew Singleton (transfer to Rutgers), DT Deron Irving-Bey (transfer to Central Michigan), OT James Hudson (transfer to Cincinnati), DE Corey Malone-Hatcher (medical scholarship), RB O’Maury Samuels (dismissed from team), OG Ja’Raymond Hall (transfer to Central Michigan), and RB Kurt Taylor (transfer destination unknown).

19 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 2
    Joined: 4/11/2017
    Shiban
    Dec 17, 2018 at 10:50 PM

    Very strange career profile… why do you think he ultimately decided to transfer and saying fuck Michigan as a recruit and then coming here anyway? I can’t really see how he could be unhappy with his playing time, to be honest.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1138
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Dec 17, 2018 at 10:53 PM

    Sucks for depth, bigtime. In fact, not being able to rely on solomon this year hurt too

    I’ve said the same about onwenu, but have heard he doesn’t fit Brown’s mold for a quick DT

  3. DonAZ
    Comments: 423
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:16 PM

    Onwenu — Is the move from OG to NT one that would require a complete new set of skills? Or is there enough complimentary elements to make the move in that direction somewhat easy? (I imagine the move from NT to OG is a bit more challenging.)

    Also, he’s big and he’s powerful, but would you see him as being disruptive at NT? Or rather just good at occupying space in the middle?

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 18, 2018 at 1:11 AM

    Please don’t mess with the OL continuity! After 4 years of searching and shuffling the offense finally has a chance at being dominant in the trenches.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 18, 2018 at 1:15 AM

    It seems possible to likely this relates to coaching staff’s Durkian approach to injury management. To this outsider it seems unnecessary.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 1153
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 18, 2018 at 7:44 AM

    I’d move Onwenu.

    I’d have moved Onwenu.

    It would have never entered my mind that Onwenu is a guard.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 18, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    We’re talking about an all-conference honored OL entering his senior year. Provincial rumor-mongers prone to personal attacks on teenagers (sorry, I misspelled insider) can say what they want but Onwenu’s a talent who has produced in his 2.5 years at Michigan.

    There’s always a learning curve with position changes so MO would likely not be at that level for most of 2019, if ever. Risking a lot for questionable payout, even IF Michigan got MO’s optimal position wrong.

    There’s no debating that losing Solomon, arguably the biggest talent on the roster, is a massive blow but the cupboard isn’t bare with Dwumfour, Kemp, Jeter and a number of other prospect. Trust Mattison to make this work at least OK.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2812
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 18, 2018 at 1:19 PM

      I think the question is about what kind of drop-off there is behind Onwenu. If there’s another offensive guard who is on par with Onwenu (or a smidge behind), then it may be worthwhile to change his position. If the drop-off is steep, then yeah, you might not want to mess with it.

      All-conference honors are nice, but I don’t know how much they can be counted on. We’ve seen some questionable choices for all-conference honors over the years, such as the way long-time starters (3 or 4 years) tend to get recognized even when they’re probably not worthy.

      I trust Mattison, but I would say something similar about Warinner. If Warinner thinks the OL can manage just fine without Onwenu, then so be it. Both of them have a solid track record.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 18, 2018 at 5:35 PM

        Good points made. But in the end you’re trading two uncertainties (OG & Onwenu switch to DL) for one (DT). We don’t know that MO is any better than Jeter, Smith or even Paea for that matter.

        You’re right about taking all-conference with a grain of salt but MO has also been starting over everyone else for most of the last 2 seasons and has been awarded best OL on the team in several games. Plus he’s a true junior so the honor doesn’t seem to be a lifetime achievement award thing.

        I think I saw those rumors you referenced (re: Onwenu getting benched) and thought they were bunk. Not saying Onwenu didn’t struggle but I think that particular insider is a bit prone to lashing out at blame targets when things are going badly. Also He’s one of those people whose expectations vary dramatically depending on their perceived talent (ranking coming out of HS).

        Based on what we’ve seen, losing Onwenu would be a huge blow to the OL.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 931
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 18, 2018 at 2:02 PM

      Well, those “other prospects” are all going to be true freshmen. Dwumfour, Kemp and Jeter are our only experienced DTs now, and none of them are anything special. We may not be any worse at DT next year, but our chances for being better are not that great, either, and it was definitely a weakness against the run and the pass.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 18, 2018 at 5:39 PM

        The DL is almost certainly going to take a massive step back. They’re going to lose 5 of their top 8 guys. Not clear that Onwenu would really move the needle on this. Might be different if you had a couple more years of eligibility.

        BUT. Michigan has reloaded on the DL before and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about Paye, Kemp, and Dwumfour. Jeter has some talent. Hutchinson and Uche looked promising. The recruiting class looks strong if they can hold on to Hinton and Smith. Mattison is still there and will probably turn a couple of these kids into players I’d bet.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 4288
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 18, 2018 at 5:44 PM

          Another way to put it: not EVERYTHING has to go right for M to have a solid DL next year. Contrast that with several instances in the last few years on the OL where everything needed to go right just to field an average unit.

          It’s not going to be a repeat of the 2016 or 2018 DLs but it shouldn’t be major problem either. Michigan can still have a top 10-20 defense. Again – contrast with the offense . That hasn’t been the case since Denard left.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 931
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Dec 18, 2018 at 5:55 PM

            “Solid” is not that high a bar, true. But we saw against Ohio State just how far “solid” gets you against a quality opponent, the kind we need to beat to get beyond 9-3ism.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 4288
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 18, 2018 at 11:50 PM

              Yes. Just worth some perspective that we’ve dealt with “less than solid” at QB, WR, and particularly OL in recent years and still managed to have good seasons.

              If you’re expecting a top 5 D again — prepare to be disappointed. Even top 20 would be a stretch given expected departures; were it not for Don Brown. Even so, the offense will have to pull it’s weight next year – even for “9-3ism”. A good term for Michigan-level quality/mediocrity/expectation BTW.

              In some ways, it’ll be refreshing to see what Harbaugh comes up with when he can’t rely on an elite D to win most games.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 931
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Dec 19, 2018 at 6:49 AM

                It is worth noting that we fielded an excellent defense in 2017, even after losing 10 or so starters. I’m not particularly concerned about our defense next year-at a minimum, it will still be very good. But as we’ve seen, this is not 1997. You can’t win championships these days with a stout defense and an offense that is merely “efficient”. There are too many good offenses that can move the ball on just about anyone. Sometimes you need to outscore the other guys in a big game. And I continue to have my doubts about whether Harbaugh can field an offense that’s capable of that. He has not recruited the kind of speed we need on offense, and he has not been effective in developing a QB or an offensive line that can get it done against high quality opposition. We don’t have a home-run philosophy on offense, nor the players to make it work even if we did.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4288
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 19, 2018 at 12:36 PM

                  I don’t know that the D can repeat 2017. I don’t see talent like Gary, Hurst, Winovich, Bush coming from the backups. But maybe if you squint at Paye, Uche, Ross, and Thomas you can be optimistic.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1138
                Joined: 1/19/2016
                je93
                Dec 19, 2018 at 9:11 AM

                Yes sir, I agree. Hopefully the offense can carry the defense a little bit

  8. Avatar
    Comments: 41
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nick.
    Dec 18, 2018 at 1:50 PM

    Since the announcement was that the team was going to allow him to talk with other teams about a potential transfer, do you think there may be some cat and mouse back and forth with regards to Solomon trying to make a power play for time? Or is this a done deal and he will be leaving? He had a strange recruitment and now his time at Michigan has been underwhelming so far, but maybe this was both sides trying to get some motivation….just a thought.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 931
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 18, 2018 at 2:35 PM

      He’s gone. As long as he was healthy, he was a likely starter next year, so it’s very doubtful that playing time is the issue.

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