If you missed part one of this story, click here.
When word of Aubrey Solomon's unflattering comments about Michigan began making the rounds, no one was more surprised than his mother Sabrina Caldwell. As a matter of fact, she seemed to be one of the last people to find out of them. By the time she caught wind, her son had already begun formulating his apology.
“That’s was all him,” Mrs. Caldwell said regarding her son’s contrition. “In fact he asked me for Coach Harbaugh’s number because I’m the one who talks to him. Again, I didn’t know. ‘Why do you want the number?’ Again, when I saw everything I was like, ‘oh my goodness.’”
“I told him… when Michigan sent that (Barbecue at the Big House appreciation) letter (and) spelled his name wrong after so many times… my son said, ‘hey, this is how you spell it.’ Also they said (in the letter), ‘hey Sabrina, it was nice to meet you’ at this barbecue that I never attended. When I went to the official visit the coach said, ‘hey, because of that mistake… because Aubrey told us about that mistake, here are all these other things that happened, (and) we corrected it.’ It took a strong person to say, ‘we messed up, but Aubrey, give us this chance.’ So (Aubrey) actually saw Coach Harbaugh’s steps, and he followed suit in the same manner. That’s what growth (is). That’s called being a man. He saw (that) Michigan made a mistake, and you know what, my son realized ‘let me take a step back.’ Here he is making a mistake. These are growing pains, but it’s not going to make you lesser of a person.”
It’s just the latest lesson in a long line of them from mother to son. Top of mind for her right now is Solomon’s thought process when determining what school he is going to go to. There is one factor she is adamant about him valuing over all others.
“Skill set,” stated Mrs. Caldwell.
“All the schools are good schools. There’s nothing that’s wrong with these schools, but again, you have a kid who plays football. He has never had a job. So with all of these internships that are available with those schools that do provide (them)… I need to give my son the commensurate skill set that he needs so this way… say if the NFL ain’t knocking at his door, what is going to knock on his door is a job. He needs to have the skill set to do that job. Yes a degree would take you far, but if don’t have the skill set or you’re not well rounded, what kind of job are you going to get? So my platform, my blueprint is like, ‘hey I gave you the tools. You know that I want you to have a skill set. Which schools can give you that skill set?’
For the better part of the last month the school that has had a leg up in Solomon’s recruitment is Alabama. To mom the reason for that is obvious.
“He saw football,” Mrs. Caldwell said. “I’m just being real. Alabama has somewhat of a… they have a good program as far as like, the internship possibilities. I know Michigan has a strong internship program. Aubrey’s list is different from my list. My top three is Michigan, Georgia Tech, and Alabama. That’s my top three. Aubrey’s top three doesn’t include Georgia Tech, but Georgia Tech is when I was first introduced to the internship. So granted, we waver on (the leaderboard), but he saw Alabama still has what he needs because at the end of the day, if the schools have his degree… if they have the internship possibility, now it’s (down to) who do you want to play for? When he put Alabama in the lead he said Alabama has these things. It may not be high in a certain area, but they at least have it. So my question is who do you want to play for? And right now, to me, honestly, I look at it as neck and neck with Alabama and Michigan.”
That Michigan remains prominently in the picture might come across as a rather big shock to most recruiting observers, but juxtapose that with the attribute in Ann Arbor that resonates with Mrs. Caldwell most, and the revelation is much easier to understand.
“The M-PACT program,” she said referring to the Michigan Athletics Professional and Career Transition Program. “Michigan has an impeccable M-PACT program. If Aubrey says, ‘hey, I want to do nursing.’ He has pretty much voiced that a lot, and he changes his mind. They do a great questionnaire/survey to have an idea (about) what do these kids want to do? What is it that they see themselves (doing)? Then they put them in a position where they’re working… where they’re getting paid to work. And then of course, yeah you’ve got football too, but (M-PACT) could give him some real world experience. You can’t get that (everywhere). Yeah you get a lot of stuff on the field, but again, the NFL is not going to knock on everybody’s door. So let’s look at as a man, ‘if you didn’t have football who would you pick?’ So again, yes, I’m in his ear.”
Another appealing attribute for Michigan is the support he’d receive from people that aren’t even on the coaching staff. Two in particular…Director of Player Development Gwen Bush and Defensive analyst/recruiting staffer Devin Bush Sr… have really earned her trust.
“Gwen Bush is sweet, but I ain’t gonna lie… Devin Bush… that’s my man right there,” said Mrs. Caldwell. “That man is crazy! He’s (really) crazy! (Laughter). And Aubrey likes that because he is all about consistency. Devin reminds me of myself… blunt (and) to the point. Hey, he’s the real deal. He is who he is. That’s what Aubrey is used to. Gwen is very is very sweet. She’s like, ‘I’m going to pick you up in a minute, but I’m going to sit back and watch.’ Devin is like, ‘hey, what are you doing man?! Let’s get it together. (Aubrey) is used to that. The fact (Gwen and Devin) balance each other out is great.”
“Yeah… Devin, that’s my dog!”
To view the interview with Mrs. Caldwell, press play above.
Whether he will continue to be for the next three to four years remains to be seen.