Steve Lorenz reported on Monday evening that redshirt junior offensive tackle Nolan Ulizio (who would be a fifth year senior in the fall) has entered his name in the transfer portal. As a graduate transfer prospect, he would be eligible to play at his new school immediately.
Hit the jump for more.
Michigan took a couple big hits in personnel on Wednesday when redshirt junior tight end Zach Gentry and junior cornerback David Long, Jr. said they would be skipping their final year of eligibility to go to the NFL.
New Mexico native Gentry was a 4-star recruit in the 2015 class, the #8 pro-style quarterback, and #174 overall. A one-time Texas commit, the then newly hired Jim Harbaugh got Gentry to pick Michigan late in the recruiting cycle. After a season spent attempting to learn the quarterback position, Gentry started catching passes during bowl practices of his freshman year. He didn’t catch his first pass until 2017. In total, he hauled in 49 passes for 817 yards (16.7 YPC) and 4 touchdowns over his career, and he was named Third Team All-Big Ten in 2018.
Long, from Los Angeles, was a 4-star cornerback in 2016 and ranked as the #7 player at his position and #65 overall. Michigan hauled him in late in the 2016 class, and one of the big recruiting stories down the stretch was the story of Jim Harbaugh climbing a tree at Long’s house while on a home visit. Long played sparingly in 2016 but then became a lockdown corner for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He allowed only one touchdown in 2018 and was named First Team All-Big Ten. He made 38 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 17 pass breakups during his career.
Gentry said he was not disappointed with his draft grade, and he should be highly valued at 6’8″ and 262 lbs. with good speed. He’s also a position-switcher who still has room to improve and develop. He won’t be a first round pick, but I would expect him to go somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.
Long has decent size for a corner at 5’11” and 187 lbs. He tackles well, has good speed, and knows how to be physical. There’s no buzz about him being a first round pick, but he could go late on day two.
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).
Sophomore running back O’Maury Samuels is a Wolverine no more. On Wednesday afternoon Michigan announced that he was being dismissed from the team.
Why? Well, information surfaced that he had been charged with domestic violence and malicious destruction of private property.
Samuels, from Los Lunas (NM) Los Lunas, had 8 carries for 13 yards as a freshman in 2017 and 13 carries for 66 yards as a sophomore in 2018. He was a promising recruit (4-star, #20 RB, #269 overall; 82 TTB Rating), but Urban Meyer doesn’t coach at Michigan.
Samuels had a chance to get into the regular rotation in 2019 with the graduation of Karan Higdon. Senior Chris Evans and redshirt junior Tru Wilson will probably be two pieces of the usual three-man rotation, and the third spot was probably going to come down to Samuels, Christian Turner, or Zach Charbonnet. This is disappointing because, well, the basis for the dismissal is not good, first of all. But also, Samuels was considered to be a potential home-run hitter, and while his first couple years on the field did not show a great deal, this limits Michigan’s options.