6’5″ 325 pounds; Hometown: Leesburg, Ga.
Who would have seen this coming? Tennessee football has unproven talent at wide receiver, running back and edge rusher. However, with no players proven at those positions but plenty of potential, we couldn’t say anybody was crucial.
Defensive tackle, though, is a different story. Aubrey Solomon has been a two-year starter with the Vols since transferring from the Michigan Wolverines. The graduate of Lee County High School in Georgia has shown an ability to play nose tackle in a 3-4 and standard defensive tackle in a 4-3 or a 4-2-5 scheme. He has 15 starts and has played in 22 of 23 games since 2019.
During that time, Solomon has registered four tackles for a loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and 45 tackles, 17 of which were solo. He’s a crucial player at the position for the Vols and provides a lot of veteran leadership.
What makes Solomon so crucial, though, is the talent UT lost. Greg Emerson and Darel Middleton, two key producers here, have entered the transfer portal. Highly touted true freshmen KaTron Evans and Isaac Washington were released from their letters of intent. As a result, Kurott Garland and Elijah Simmons are the only other firmly entrenched tackles returning with experience.
Sure, Tennessee football added USC Trojans transfer Caleb Tremblay and Kansas Jayhawks transfer Da’Jon Terry. The Vols also have other rising stars there. Only Solomon brings proven value, and with so many issues on defense, that makes him the guy UT can least afford to lose.