UM’s Malone-Hatcher on Aubrey Solomon: I’m recruiting him hard

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Corey Malone-Hatcher

Four-star Michigan recruit Corey Malone-Hatcher will watch Monday night’s national championship game with great interest since he is an Alabama fan.

Malone-Hatcher’s father, Orlando Malone, grew up in Alabama and the family watched the Crimson Tide’s games on television, cheering them on even after moving to Michigan.

Malone-Hatcher wanted to commit to Nick Saban after taking a visit and getting offered during his sophomore year at St. Joseph (Mich.) High.

“When they first offered me I was pretty positive that Alabama would be the place I’d play my college ball since it was my dream school growing up,” said Malone-Hatcher, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end who has enrolled early at Michigan. “I had always been an Alabama fan since I was young.

“My dad kind of encouraged me to wait, which really took me by surprise, when I visited Alabama and got an offer from them. I told him I wanted to commit that weekend they offered me. He told me to wait three weeks, then come back and talk about it. The first week I was still all about Alabama, second week still Alabama -- it’s where I needed to be. The third week the honeymoon phase started to wear off and I started to look at logistics.

Michigan recruiting knows no bounds with Jim Harbaugh at the helm

“I love Alabama football as far as the hunger they have for championships. Their coaches are passionate, but there was something about Alabama that threw me off. It just didn’t feel like the right place for me and the right place I wanted to be in to develop into a young man and a young student scholar and athlete. It was then when it took a turn away from just football and what college would give me the best opportunity to excel not only on the field, but in life.”

In the end, Alabama wasn’t even in Malone-Hatcher’s top three, finishing behind Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Malone-Hatcher is not sure what he plans on majoring in, though he says UM’s Ross School of Business is attractive to him.

Aubrey Solomon, DT, Lee County High, Leesburg, Ga., 6-3, 304, five stars: For the second straight year, Michigan landed one of the top defensive linemen in the country. Solomon, who is known for his athleticism and ability to get off the ball and into the backfield, is ranked the No. 1 defensive tackle in the South and No. 2 in the nation. He'll compete for a starting role right away and could form a ferocious front alongside last year's crown jewel Rashan Gary.

And, while Malone-Hatcher is busy taking classes with the transition to college, he is also recruiting, trying to help bring in five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon from Leesburg, Ga.

“This should be a really, really talented defensive line class,” said Malone-Hatcher, who is rooming with Donovan Jeter, a four-star defensive end from Beaver Falls, Pa., the hometown of Joe Namath. “I love our chances of getting Aubrey Solomon. I’m in steady contact with him, recruiting him hard. I just present him with the facts, that a Michigan degree is one of the best in the country, that we have a top-five football program. He understands that.”

Solomon has listed his final four as Alabama, Georgia, USC and Michigan.

As for Monday night’s game, Malone-Hatcher thinks Alabama will repeat as champion in its title game rematch with Clemson.

“There’s going to be some fireworks with two heavy hitters,” Malone-Hatcher said. “I still believe Michigan matches up with Alabama the best. Still, the offense that Clemson has is very good. It will be a good game.”