The NCAA roulette wheel of immediate eligibility stopped on orange on Tuesday, bringing good news to the Tennessee football program. Former Michigan defensive lineman Aubrey Solomon, who has been practicing with the Vols for the entire offseason, has been cleared to play for coach Jeremy Pruitt when the Vols open play Saturday against Georgia State, according to 247Sports.
Solomon was a five-star prospect and the No. 23 overall player in the class of 2017 out of Lee County (Georgia) High School in Leesburg. He had 18 tackles and two for loss in 13 games as a true freshman in 2018. The 6-foot-5, 299-pounder only registered six tackles in five games in 2018 while fighting through a knee injury.
Pruitt said during his press conference on Monday that, while they hadn't heard an official ruling on Solomon's status, that the staff was operating as if he would become eligible before the opener. He was seen working with the first-team defense during open viewing periods of practice this week. The Tennessee coachwhen his transfer was announced in December.
"Aubrey is a guy that a lot of coaches on our staff knew when he was a young man in high school, and we all recruited him," he said. "He can play all three downs. He's a powerful man. He's smart. He's a good student. He has experience, having already played at the collegiate level. He is a great addition to our university and our football program."
Solomon will likely start at defensive end for the Vols, with Matthew Butler or Darel Middleton lined up on the the other side and Greg Emerson or Kingston Harris locking down the middle of Pruitt's 3-4 defense.
Tennessee and Georgia State will kick off the 2019 season this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Neyland Stadium.