Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County entered last Friday’s match-up with Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside with an undefeated record and a dominating defense. The defense showed what all the fuss was about for a while, but the pressure created by four turnovers on offense was ultimately too much to overcome. The end result was the first loss of the season. Despite that, there were bright spots. With Michigan assistant Chris Partridge looking on Lee County targets Otis Reese, Tory Carter, and Aubrey Solomon all impressed.
Otis Reese - Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown undoubtedly has a list of desired attributes for his “viper” position, and 2018 commit Otis Reese meets a lot of them. He looked every bit of his listed 6-3, 200 lbs. and has the frame to carry 10-15 lbs. more without losing a step. That will only serve to make him a more imposing tackler than he already he. He was credited with three big hits on the night, including a time or two behind the line of scrimmage. That brings us to the area where he shined the brightest… blitzing. Jabrill Peppers will likely prove to be an impossible standard to meet for any that follow him at the position because of his blend of speed, true corner cover skills, and explosive tackling ability, but one area where Reese looks like he will be his predecessor’s equal is as a blitzer. He occasionally slipped blockers with moves, other times he simply blew them up. Some defenders just have a knack for executing blitzes more effectively than others. Reese is a player with that knack. When it comes to coverage Reese isn’t asked to play man-to-man on slot types like Peppers is, but he did show good zone awareness. On one play he dropped into coverage, recognized the back slipping into the flat, immediately drove on the route, then exploded into the ball carrier for his biggest hit of the night. When the dust settled on the night Reese has racked up a team high 17 tackles, including five solos, nine assisted, and three tackles for loss. While he reiterated his plans to take visits to enjoy the recruiting experience, he also reiterated the firmness of his pledge Michigan.
Tory Carter – Like Reese, the LSU fullback commit is every bit of the 6-2, 260 lbs. the Lee County roster lists him at. The majority of his field time came at defensive end, and he made his presence felt. Carter showed impressive initial quickness, change of direction, and short area speed. Though not a burner he moves well for an athlete his size and lent credence to those projecting him a road-grader out of the backfield. Former LSU coach Les Miles told him he can carry 5-7 more pounds comfortably, so 267-lbs. his target weight moving forward. Before you go thinking that will simply make him another offensive guard out there, the youngster is athletic enough to be a consistent dive threat. On one of his few appearances on offense Friday night he was robbed a full yard on a direct snap the should’ve converted a fourth-down play. His coaches also indicated that he has good hands and is a receiving threat out of the backfield. They utilize him “98% of the time on defense” because he’s just so valuable there. We saw that during the game. Carter finished the night with nine tackles, including three solos, three assisted, and three tackles for loss. When it comes to his recruitment he maintains that he is committed to the Tigers, but will look around while they search for a new headman (he hopes Ed Orgeron has the interim tag removed). Michigan and Auburn appear to be the most significant threats at the moment with Michigan being a huge wildcard since it runs a true pro-style offense and the furthest north he has ever been is Atlanta.
Aubrey Solomon – As expected, the newly minted five-star defensive tackle was a load for any of the opposing linemen to take on one-on-one. When they did Solomon overwhelmed his man. That seemingly the case without exception. More often than not Northside double-teamed him or simply ran away from him to limit his impact. That did open up blitzing lanes and create one-on-one match-ups for teammates, but prevented Solomon from notching the gaudy numbers he put up in other games this year. That said, while he is noted for his run-stuffing ability, he looked like he could excel as both a one-gap pass rusher or as a two-gap nose in the fashion in which Lee uses him. All told he was effective on the night, but not overwhelming force that he was in other games. Solomon finished the game with seven tackles including two solos, three assisted, and two tackles for loss. On the recruiting front Solomon has maintained his interest in Michigan, but no date for a return visit has been set The question now is whether one will be. For more on the Wolverines' chances in this race click the following link: Webblog: Handicapping U-M's shot at Aubrey Solomon.