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).