One of the strangest recruitments of the year has come to end. Aubrey Solomon’s roller coaster of a recruiting journey epitomizes the crazy up and downs that come with wining and dining high school athletes. In the end, the 2nd ranked defensive tackle and 25th ranked prospect overall was all about Jim Harbaugh and the total package the University of Michigan offers. Solomon spurning Nick Saban and Alabama on ESPNU’s National Signing Day special caps an incredible class for the Wolverines but Jim Harbaugh’s biggest recruiting win was anything but a given.
Originally a Michigan commit way back in June, things took an early turn for the worse when Solomon decommitted shortly after in August. He had committed to Michigan on his first visit where he and his family immediately fell in love with the school. Looking back, it was perhaps a rash decision and one Solomon no longer felt comfortable with after the school sent a thank you letter for a barbecue Solomon never attended. Misspelling both his first and last name only made things worse and Solomon decided to officially reopen his recruitment.
The list of recruits who decommit from a school and still end up there is incredibly small. Recruits who do that with Alabama, Georgia, and USC in heavy pursuit? Almost unheard of.
Michigan lured Solomon and his mother back to Michigan for an official visit in November. The visit was flawless, most importantly making a lasting impression with Solomon’s mom. He named Michigan his leader once again but was nowhere near ready to commit.
Heavy pursuit followed, most notably from Nick Saban and Alabama. That pressure and an official visit swayed Solomon who was enamored by Alabama’s track record, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It was enough for Solomon to name Alabama his leader and by a notable margin according to him. If that was discouraging to Michigan fans, it was nothing compared to the vulgar Periscope video that surfaced before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. To quote Solomon, “f*** Michigan.”
That was seen as pretty much the end of Michigan’s chances. A decommited prospect unleashing on his former school of choice? Woof. Shortly after the video surfaced, Solomon issued an apology to Michigan and their fans saying that was far from how he truly felt but the damage was perceivably done.
For just about any other coaching staff, that would mark the end of their efforts but Jim Harbaugh is not just any coach and Michigan was not ready to give up on their top remaining target. Jim Harbaugh and Chris Partridge flew down to Georgia for an in-home visit like no other. With the help of his daughter, Jim Harbaugh and friends made a day of it from go-karting to helping Solomon’s young sister with a school project. It was a great bonding experience between the Solomon and Michigan family, one that Solomon’s mom called the best visit ever. It planted Michigan firmly back in the mix despite everything prior and led us down to the wire for his decision on signing day.
Solomon made up his mind a week before his announcement and dished to scout.com.
“I feel like I have found out where I am going,” he told Scout. “It came to me on Wednesday [January 29th]. I just prayed about it the night before and when I woke up, the answer came to me.”
“So far, I am the only person who really knows what my decision is, but that will change this weekend. I plan to start letting some know here soon. I have not told any coaches or anyone what my decision is, but I will start to here soon.”
“For the school I am going to, it came down to what they have been doing in football and their graduation rate. What they have been doing in those two areas has been pretty unbelievable.”
Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan staff did an incredible job of selling both Solomon and his family on everything Michigan has to offer not just in football but academically as well. It paid off in a stunner of a recruitment in what is arguably Harbaugh’s biggest recruiting win at Michigan and cements another top five recruiting finish for the Wolverines.