2017 Recruiting: Donovan Jeter Comment Count

Brian July 7th, 2017 at 3:58 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE Deron Irving-Bey

Beaver Falls, PA – 6'5", 285


Scout 4*, NR overall
#34 DE
Rivals 4*, NR overall
#13 DT, #7 PA
ESPN 4*, NR         
#28 DE, #9 PA
24/7 4*, #248 overall
#11 SDE, #8 PA
Other Suitors ND, Pitt, OU, UGA, PSU, OSU-ish, Bama-ish
YMRMFSPA Can I say Deron Irving-Bey? No?
Fine, still Wormley.
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Not related to telenovela star DIRK JEEBLERS… or is he?




Donovan Jeter is already a fan favorite, and to see why all you need are a few headlines over the course of two weeks in October:

At that juncture, Donovan Jeter had not had a media relations workshop. He ended up apologizing after calling Kelly "arrogant" as opposed to cool dude Jim Harbaugh:

"I got in the van and was like 'you know what coach? You're my guy, I'm going to commit tonight. He pulls the van over, jumps out and gives me a big hug. In the morning I kind of forgot that I committed and he ran up to me and gave me a big hug and was like 'I'm glad to have you aboard.' Then I thought 'oh yeah, I committed.' So, I had to go run and tell my parents."

"Not too many head coaches would go out at 12 in the morning and pick up recruits."

You may be a bit worried this guy is a flake what with the decommit and the wicked ND burns and the oh-yeah-I-forgot-I-committed. There is a certain correlation between guys who yap a lot in public and poor outcomes, but with Jeter this appears to be just the ebullient tip of a dedicated iceberg. Harbaugh:

"He's a phenomenal personality and rock-solid guy - very mature, very much a leader, great qualities, plus the quality of getting after the quarterback and hitting the quarterback. That's a really good quality too." 

High school coach Ryan Matsook:

"I think you've got a kid who's going to adjust to college life pretty quick. He's a pretty mature kid who has always surrounded himself with people kind of like him. I'm not surprised that he enrolled early in the sense of being around other guys kind of like him, you know what I mean? That's always a plus."

Jeter demonstrated a significant amount of commitment by dropping from 300 pounds to 250 between his junior and senior seasons. The Pitt Rivals site caught up with his trainer, who marveled at his willingness to show up:

“Normally a high school kid won’t come in at eight in the morning, I don’t even schedule them then because they won’t wake up to come work. Donovan came at eight o’clock all summer and was here on time and warming up already."

The transition to a college weight program was old hat for Jeter; he'd basically been in one for almost a year prior to his arrival on campus. After hitting a low of 250 he gradually added the weight back, arriving on campus around 270 and exiting spring at 285. There's likely still some refining to do—35 pounds of good weight in a year is pretty tough to pull off. The light switch appears to have gone on and stayed on.

As a result of Jeter's transformation there are some seriously divergent takes out there. Junior year Jeter sounds like a DT all the way, and a plugger at that. ESPN:

Physically impressive prospect with big frame and nice blend of height and bulk. …very good strength with adequate first-step quickness. … big body that can be a stout presence against the run. When he fires off with pad level and brings his hands he can anchor well versus the run and at times against current competition can just throw blockers aside. … strictly a power rusher that is capable of jolting and knocking blockers back when explodes out and stays low. ….needs to further develop pass rush arsenal and better utilize size and strength.  … Doesn't look to be fully maximizing ability at this point and has room to improve.

The ND 24/7 site evaluated him similarly when he committed in mid-September—and they were still relying on his junior film:

Not a pure speed guy, so he relies on his strength and power. …ample strength to play inside… great size …displays power off the line and has room for added first step explosiveness. … could play three-technique or big end. If needed, he could add size and play the nose as well. …must become more consistent with pad level during his upfield rush.

Those are DT evals based on a 290-pound junior.

Just a day later, Scout's ND site posted their take on Jeter, one that explicitly referenced his weight loss and focused on the 2016 version. This is a different human:

…a combination of size, strength, uncommonly great feet for such a big man, and an active, physical defensive end who can slide to a three-technique when the situation dictates. …He’s gone from a guy uncertain in his three-point stance with an average first step to a locked-and-loaded, quick-off-the-snap, get-up-the-field big end with a fast-running motor. He runs very well in the open field for such a big man. He has great not good feet in short space. He shows sound fundamentals in his willingness to square up, bend at the knees, and explode into a tackle. … change of direction is that of a much smaller athlete. He is light on his feet, yet he is a power player with “heavy hands” in his one-on-one combat at the line of scrimmage.

Scout's Brian Dohn both took in one of Jeter's games and took a look at his senior tape for a scouting update posted in January—a thing it would be terrific everyone did that for prospects who changed a lot—and found a varied, versatile defensive lineman with a twist ending:

…quick with his hands, and he uses several moves instead of just relying on his physical ability to overwhelm his opponent. …knows how to use his length to eat up a lot of space, and he gets up the field well from the defensive end position. …will chase plays across the field, but he is at his best in the running game when teams try to go at him. …can be a defensive end, particularly on the weakside [ed: !!!] where he can use his length and quickness in his first two steps, or he can add weight and strength and move inside. ….hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.

Scout's profile ended up praising his length, frame, quickness, and explosion. "Athleticism" and "lateral range" were strengths; with "strength" an area for improvement. Different human.

ND's Rivals site caught up with Matsook midseason to get his take on the New Jeter:

“His quickness and change of direction [stand out]. It’s tough to find big guys who can do that. … I think that’s his biggest asset. … He’s quick, very good feet. I think early and often he showed he had some aggression and physicality to him. He’s worked at it, changed his body and starting to really come into his own as a player overall.”

Unfortunately, when they went out to check on Jeter themselves heavy rain turned the field into soup, limiting the ability to tell what from who.

Jeter enrolled early and started inching his way towards playing time ahead of his classmates. Steve Lorenz reported that Jeter's "size and athleticism were very impressive" in winter workouts; he felt like he made steady progress:

"I wouldn't say there were some aha! moments -- there were some moments where I got hit a little hard. Kind of showed me it was a little different than high school. After each practice, I would talk with Coach Mattison about how to get better with little things -- my hands, my footwork, stuff like that. No aha! moments, just moments with coach."

Folks who got to take in Michigan's Rome practices thought Jeter was already working himself into plausibility, with Nick Baumgardner listing him as the most likely of the available DL to play after the clear top five of Gary, Mone, Hurst, Winovich, and Carlo Kemp. Even though Mike Dwumfour was not participating, that still slides him past three or four guys. Mattison confirmed that take at a press conference when he singled out Kemp and Jeter when asked about the next generation on the DL:

"Donovan Jeter has showed some things. He’s showed us that he can do some things. … Now we’ve got to bring some of the other guys along.”

For his part, Don Brown said he was a "very, very interesting guy" and "played very well" in limited time in the spring game. Per Jeter, he was initially told he would be a SDE but a three-tech move would be "fine" because he's "not going to be a prima donna." He played there throughout spring.

Etc.: 247 Notre Dame reporter Tom Loy is known as an… overly enthusiastic fellow, and this was an UltraLoy moment. On the day he decommitted he gave an interview to Pittsburgh Sports Now in which he said this:

“I look and Michigan is undefeated and Notre Dame is 2-5. Nothing against Notre Dame. They’ve had some tough losses.

“I don’t want to play for a mediocre school,” he said. “I don’t want to play for a team that goes like 7-6. I want to go to a school that plays in the big bowl games or plays in the College Football Playoff. I don’t want to go to an average school because I don’t think I’m an average player. I want to make big time plays on a big time stage.”

Two days later, Loy posted this:

Typically, when a recruit decommits from a school, that likely results in both sides parting ways. However, that's not the case here. Despite opening up his recruitment, Notre Dame looks to still be the top school for Jeter, who remains in constant communication with the Irish coaching staff.

Three days later Jeter committed to Michigan and set Brian Kelly's hair on fire. Bro! Bro. Bruh. Stop it. Get some help.

Also in raconteur:

“If I go out to a party or something that, they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you’re that Jeter kid aren’t you? You related to Derek Jeter?’ ” Jeter said, laughing. “ ‘Yeah, I’m related to Derek Jeter.’ Then they’ll be asking me like, have you ever met him and this and that. And I’m like, ‘Ah, no, he couldn’t make the family reunions.’

“At least one person every day asks me if I’m related to Derek Jeter, and my answer is the same — it’s yes, and it’s always going to be yes because in my mind me and Derek Jeter are related.”


That they're looking for kids with size and they're looking for kids that can move. Donovan certainly possesses those intangibles.

Aaaargh /sets self on fire

Why Fine, Still Wormley? I know I literally just used this comparison but Irving-Bey and Jeter are damn near twins, whether it's in their physical stature, late surge, positional versatility, or recruiting rankings. If Wormley's the best comparison for Irving-Bey he's the best comparison for Jeter.

Mo Hurst is a decent comparable on the three tech side of the ledger. Jeter's significantly taller and doesn't have a recruiting profile as littered with dudes going "my god, what a first step," so it's not that tight. Hurst was another low four star with one other big time program in heavy pursuit, and Jeter has significant upside as a too-quick-and-heavy-to-block three-tech.

Guru Reliability: Low. This is a situation where I think the recruiting sites are prone to miss. Jeter appears to have avoided the camp scene entirely. A large number of the scouting reports were about an out-of-shape 290 pound version of Jeter, and without the eye-opening camps or a shot at an All Star game his rankings were never likely to fit the player he became. The rankings are all basically the same, yes. I won't be surprised if he crushes them.

Variance: Low. Jeter's already pushing for playing time at 285 pounds after exiting spring practice; he's garnering reserved but consistent praise from the coaches in public.

Ceiling: High? Jeter's ceiling remains unclear because of the radical weight change and the uncertainty about where he ends up. But it seems pretty high.

General Excitement Level: Very high. The distance between Jeter and a contributor is already very thin, and he's blown past a few touted recruits already. His versatility means he can find playing time almost anywhere across the DL. Expect him to get a bunch of snaps during his career with a good shot at being a star. While he's not eligible for Sleeper status if you were asking me about the folks most likely to exceed their composite rankings he'd be up there with Stueber, Hudson, and Samuel.

Projection: Jeter will bounce between five and three-tech for the first couple years of his career putting out whatever depth chart fires pop up at those spots. With Kemp locking down the backup SDE spot, it says here that Jeter shifts down to DT during fall practice and competes with Dwumfour and Hudson for snaps. Anyone's guess how that turns out; expect Jeter to play early as Michigan tries to figure out their two deep on the interior, with slightly better than even chance that he's valuable enough right now to not look for a redshirt should an opportunity arise.

Hurst leaves after this year while Mone (probably) and Gary return so Jeter should stick at 3T next year, either winning the job outright or being a rotation piece behind Dwumfour or Hudson.



July 7th, 2017 at 5:56 PM ^

Michigan is taking far fewer WTF fliers than they used to so the bottom end of the scale has gotten less and less use. The bottom five guys in this class per the composite, punter excluded, are: 

Joel Honigford: 6'6" OL with TCU, Tenn, MSU, UO offers ranked 200th by ESPN

Phil Paea: two-way lineman with Neb, UO, MSU, USC(maybe), Utah offers ranked inside top 500 on composite

Kwity Paye: Don Brown special DE w/ 4 star ESPN ranking who raised stock at UA game. 

Ben Mason: fullback, four star ESPN ranking 

Kurt Taylor: the one guy who doesn't have outside factors pointing in the right direction. He really really goes after what he wants, though. 

This is a far cry from some of the dudes Rodriguez and Hoke took swings on. FWIW, Devin Gil got a "not great" last year. http://mgoblog.com/content/2016-recruiting-devin-gil



July 8th, 2017 at 10:04 AM ^

the OL and DL. In particular, the DL reload is fabulous. Our defensive coaching is world class. Our defensive results should be elite for years to come with the DL foundation that is being built.

If we can take the OL recruits and develop them to a higher level, Michigan will be unstoppable as a program. We now have the coaching at OL, so I am very hopeful for the future.

Don't sell this team short for 2017, but 2018-19 is shaping up to be killer years.

We are back

July 8th, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

I have family in Aliquippa PA one coaches one played against Jeter for 3 years as he was a Center and they both swear up and down that Jeter is a bum, not saying I believe them just what they say, the same guys also told me Kugler was can't miss and one of the best Lineman to ever come out of the Pittsburgh area, I can't wait for Jeter to tear it up so I can rub it in there face during the holidays