There aren’t many elite defensive tackles around SEC Country in the 2017 recruiting class, but Aubrey Solomon (Lee County High School / Leesburg, Ga.) is right at the top. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound prospect is rated No. 6 at the position and the No. 96 overall prospect for 2017.
He’s set to take another trip to UGA on Friday and Saturday. It is another important visit because Georgia might only sign one or two defensive tackles this year. Solomon also recently told DawgNation he could only see Alabama and Clemson beating out the Bulldogs.
Elite defensive linemen have always been the secret sauce for nasty SEC defenses, but Solomon is one of the rare few which reside in the SEC footprint this year. There are only three players among the nation’s top 12 defensive tackles which reside in what is seen as fertile SEC territory.
Solomon maintains Alabama is his leader. Auburn also recently made a move at its “Big Cat Weekend” recruiting event.
Solomon is rated as the nation’s No. 6 defensive tackle for the Class of 2017. (Joshua L. Jones / Special)
Georgia had already made a big splash by sending his mother Sabrina Caldwell a smattering of 15 cards and well-wishes for her birthday. That clearly moved Caldwell in a touching story she shared with DawgNation. Solomon noticed.
“That helped Georgia a lot,” Solomon told DawgNation at the time. “I mean a whole whole lot with what it means to my decision.”
But it will take more substance than sentiment to sign Solomon. That’s because first-year head coach Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs are an unknown.
His mother explained why.
“I remember when I went to UGA for an unofficial visit with Aubrey,” she said. “The one thing that I told Coach Smart is that it is unfair for me to ask questions or make a decision based off him being the head coach at Georgia because he has not had that opportunity to show me anything as of yet. So I am going to sit back and I am going to watch how he does this season in his first year as a head coach.”
Caldwell’s approach should give Smart and UGA time for her to form that opinion. Solomon is set to make his college commitment Oct. 21. That’s “Senior Night” for Lee County, but he could also opt to wait until National Signing Day.
Why does Alabama lead? The main reason is Solomon watched his mother when they visited Tuscaloosa. Normally he sees his mother asking the coaches a lot of questions. She had no questions for Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Solomon has grown up always wanting to go into the nursing profession. (Michael Carvell / AJC)
“A lot of it has to do with me with how the coaches at the other schools answer the questions,” Caldwell said. “Half the time when I ask the questions the coaches give me that ‘I’ll get back to you’ on that and that is disheartening for me. But when I went to Alabama I didn’t ask any questions and he feeds off of that.”
Yet this is an area where Smart might have an eventual advantage besides coaching for the in-state school.
“The one other thing I told Coach Smart was that you’re cut from the same cloth as Nick Saban and what Alabama had that you are more than likely going to bring with you to UGA,” Caldwell said. “So I will be real excited to watch what he does. I have been very impressed with the Alabama coach that has been talking to me and Coach Smart has of course been under his wing so that should all bleed over. I mean all of that accountability and the responsibility and just the camaraderie around the team altogether. I am going to give him that chance and see what he does. I can’t wait to sit back and watch what he does.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.