ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Georgia has become fertile recruiting ground for Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh’s two most recent recruiting classes included five players from the Peach State. The incoming freshman class this year includes three signees from Georgia, including Michael Barrett, a 3-star athlete from Lowndes High School in Valdosta.
Georgia, Barrett said, has become a hot spot for football recruiters because of the attitude of the state’s top players.
“It’s a different breed down here, just that toughness, that down-South toughness,” Barrett recently told Land of 10. “You’re just born with that toughness, especially if you’re from the country. I was born in the country, and I grew up playing tackle football in the streets. Growing up with that, it brought us up to be tough.”
Barrett has faced three of his future Michigan teammates in three seasons of high school football. He offered some insight on defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, incoming freshman cornerback Myles Sims and running back Kurt Taylor.
DT Aubrey Solomon
The only time Barrett saw Solomon, Barrett played linebacker and running back when Lowndes faced Lee County in 2015.
Barrett had to contend with a defensive line led by Solomon, a 5-star defensive tackle in 2017 who will be a sophomore for the Wolverines this season.
“Aubrey stood out the most on the whole Lee County defense,” Barrett said. “Whenever you watched him, he was always in the backfield and always making tackles. He’s a huge guy on the defensive line, a guy who is always making an impact.”
The 6-foot-3, 297-pound Solomon had 18 tackles, including two for loss, in 13 games as a freshman in 2017. Solomon said he wants to improve his production as his role increases on the defensive line.
“Get more disruptions,” Solomon said. “Get more quarterback hits.”
CB Myles Sims
Barrett and the Lowndes football team lost to Sims’ Westlake program 24-21 in the third round of the Georgia 7A playoffs in 2016. Westlake won the game on a field goal on the game’s final play.
Sims helped a defense that limited Lowndes to 265 yards of total offense, including 44 yards in the first half. Barrett had to keep an eye on Sims, a 4-star signee who enrolled in January at Michigan. Barrett completed 7 of 15 passes for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns against Westlake.
“He can lock down a receiver, definitely,” Barrett said. “He’s got the coverage skill and he’s long, so it’s hard to get over him. He’s one of those guys that it’s hard to throw to his side of the field. He can cover so much.”
RB Kurt Taylor
Barrett also faced Taylor as a linebacker, when Lowndes played Newton (Ga.) in 2016, a 42-34 win for Lowndes. Taylor ran for more than 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior at Newton, then transferred to Grayson (Ga.) for his senior season.
“He was pretty big, a thick guy,” Barrett said of Taylor. “He was really cut, too, and had good speed and made good cuts on the field. I watched him on film and thought, ‘This guy could run you over.’ He could get by you and he would make you let him get by.”
Taylor did not play as a freshman for the Wolverines in 2017. Taylor is part of a deep group of running backs that will include top returnees Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, sophomore O’Maury Samuels and incoming freshman Christian Turner.