There is a scarcity in the 2017 recruiting class, and it’s at defensive tackle. That’s why Marvin Wilson and Aubrey Solomon are currently embroiled in two of the most hotly contested recruiting battles this cycle.
Both are five-stars, and Wilson is the best uncommitted player left in the country. But they’re also the only five-stars at the position. Wilson is the No. 6 overall player in the country, Solomon ranks 25th.
And the lack of similar players this year means the fight for them is as fierce as ever.
First, a look at how this year’s DT class compares at the top line.
There are typically about 31 five-stars each year in the 247Sports Composite ranks.
In 2016, there were six DTs rated five-stars, and in 2015 there were seven. But those seem to be outlier years. 2014 and 2013 were nearly as lean as 2016 when it comes to elite tackles. The normal average is around three or four five-star DTs.
It is also just really stinkin’ difficult to recruit defensive tackles anyway, much less ones that fit and can help elite programs navigate their thin margin for error. There just aren’t that many humans who can move quickly at over 300 pounds coming out of high school.
So what makes Wilson and Solomon so special?
With Wilson, raw power is the name of the game. He arrives violently at the point of attack and uses his hands exceptionally. He’s a big guy who shows the strength to anchor a defensive line at nose guard, but he also provides pass-rush ability.
There’s a bit more quick twitch to Solomon’s game. He likely won’t be a defensive anchor, but he’d be an absolute pain to deal with as a three technique, with his ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage with excellent burst out of his stance.
So, where are these guys going to go?
Well, your guess is as good as ours at this point, especially when it comes to Solomon. Our national recruiting coordinator, Bud Elliott, has little confidence in earmarking Solomon to Michigan.
I have no idea where he will go. Solomon told me during the Army All-American Bowl week that Alabama leads, but he has changed his visit plans around several times. Michigan and Georgia do not think they are out of this race, despite his unflattering comments about the Wolverines. Solomon might be truly torn, or he may be trying to create some drama for his final call. I am going to go with Michigan, but my confidence is low.
Elliott was similarly non-committal about Wilson, who is considering LSU, FSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.
LSU folks are feeling good about Wilson since the Tigers were tied at the top with FSU, yet Wilson still had his LSU visit remaining, and had already taken his trip to Tallahassee. But, Florida State’s recruits have been the most vocal recruiters and have the Seminoles squarely in the mix. Neither the Tigers nor the Seminoles would surprise me here. I definitely think FSU has a greater shot than many.