Hello: Donovan Jeter

Submitted by Ace on October 23rd, 2016 at 5:36 PM

[Isaiah Hole/247]

Fresh off an official visit for the Illinois game, four-star Beaver Falls (PA) DT/SDE Donovan Jeter announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon.

Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame a week ago in part because of a conversation with Greg Mattison. He gave your new favorite recruiting quote to Pittsburgh Sports Now in the aftermath:

“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.”

It's been a good weekend.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #30 DE,
#300 Ovr
4*, #14 DT 4*, 80, #28 DT 4*, 91, #8 SDE,
#237 Ovr
4*, #11 SDE,
#279 Ovr

Jeter played strongside end for Beaver Falls at around 300 pounds last year, but has dropped ~50 pounds and plays on 3-4 DE this year. He's listed at 6'5" on three of the four sites (Scout says 6'6") and between 250 (247) and 270 (ESPN) pounds. He could be a three-tech or a strongside end in Michigan's defense.


Jeter comes from an athletic family. Both of his older brothers have played college basketball at a high level: Lance Jeter (6'3", 225) was an all-conference guard at Nebraska, and Sheldon Jeter (6'8", 230) was a productive sixth man for Pitt as a junior last year. Donovan, of course, wound up with a slightly different body type.

There's surprisingly little on Jeter in the scouting department from before his Notre Dame commitment in September. All I could find was an undated ESPN underclassman eval that they've since updated, but the old one is worth posting to provide a starting point—it's probably from before his junior year since it mentions a need to add weight:

STRENGTHS: Tall with massive frame and great strength. Powerful at the point of attack and is difficult to move off the ball. Possesses good lateral agility and balance in space. Uses length to keep blockers at bay. Reads quickly and can counter Aggressive player with a great motor. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will need to fill out his ample frame. Not overly sudden and a bit of a long strider. Needs to refine his stacking and shedding. ... BOTTOM LINE: Jeter is a strong, aggressive kid with prototypical size and more than enough speed. We believe he has the potential to develop into a well-rounded defensive end at the next level. He has plenty of upside.

[Hit THE JUMP for more scouting, video, and the rest.]

There's an avalance of post-commitment evals, including one I can't help but include from IrishIllustrated's Tim Prister, who's a little prone to hyperbole:

But Jeter – from the birthplace of Joe Namath -- is undoubtedly a cornerstone upon which to build, an enforced checkpoint for running backs, and the closest thing to Stephon Tuitt that Notre Dame could ever hope to land. ...

The light bulb went on last year when Jeter shed 50 pounds to become more mobile and take advantage of his outstanding God-given gifts. 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.

247's Evan Sharpley provided a less breathless, but still quite positive, film evaluation:

At 6-5, 250-pounds, Jeter has the body type that will allow him to trend toward a number of different positions based on need and/or development. Expect to see him at the three-technique, bigger end, or nose. He will become more dangerous as he becomes consistent in creating space with his hands. Not a pure speed guy, so he relies on his strength and power. ...  He has ample strength to play inside, and could be a force against the run. His great size, coupled with powerful strength make him difficult to block. Fantastic ability to play both the run and the pass. Jeter displays power off the line and has room for added first step explosiveness.

Pad level, as usual, was mentioned as an area for improvement, as was better harnessing his natural power.

Scout's Brian Dohn provides the evaluation with the most even-handed overview of Jeter's game:


Jeter is an intriguing prospect because he has the length and frame. He is quick and explosive, and he plays physical and does a nice job of getting his hands onto the offensive lineman. He gets off the ball well and he can pursue a play down the field. He has good body control moving up the field, and can get around the edge. If he can stay a little lower at the snap, it will help him with leverage against bigger offensive tackles. -- Brian Dohn


  • Athleticism
  • Lateral Range
  • Size

Areas to Improve

  • Strength
  • Techniques and Moves

The bottom line of ESPN's more recent evaluation similarly describes a talented, raw lineman, but they see him on the interior:

Jeter is a prospect with very nice size and when he utilizes his strengths can be a stout presence in the trenches. Doesn't look to be fully maximizing ability at this point and has room to improve. Can play in trenches as 34DE or DT, but room to be more impactful and if he gets most from talents can be a very good Power-5 DL.

Blue & Gold Illustrated caught one his games this fall—he had seven tackles, two for loss, in a rain-soaked blowout win:

Jeter showed very good flashes in the limited action he saw. He is playing both sides of the ball, which signals he is gaining more and more endurance from his body transformation this past year shedding around 40-50 pounds. He has the size and quickness off the edge to be a major force and he showed those skills several times throughout the game.

The body transformation is evident with Jeter. He is in good shape now for sure, but his frame could easily hold most of the weight he lost provided it is muscle.

They also caught up with his head coach, who praised Jeter's improving endurance before giving a more detailed scouting report:

What makes Jeter the coveted recruit he is?

“His quickness and change of direction,” Matsook said. “It’s tough to find big guys who can do that. You can get a guy a going one direction and you ask him to change directions and that’s not normally something big guys do well. He does. I think that’s his biggest asset.

“He’s a big kid. 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.”

Brian Dohn has added an updated scouting report following Jeter's Michigan commitment:

He has good get-off at the snap, and he covers a lot of ground in his first two or three steps. He has the speed to chase a play down from behind, and he knows how to break down when approaching the ball carrier. His length is an asset.

Jeter is physically gifted, and a big thing for him with Michigan is working on his upper body strength. He has decent change of direction, but adding flexibility in Michigan's conditioning program will make him more agile and quicker when he has to stop and explode in another direction.

A need to refine technique is again mentioned.

After shedding all that weight, Jeter has to build himself back up over the next couple years while also refining his technique. As an athlete Greg Mattison can take a couple years to mold, there's a lot to like with him.


Jeter picked up an Oklahoma offer the day of his Notre Dame decommitment. In addition, he holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and a number of others.


Jeter is only the second four-star prospect out of Beaver Falls in the Rivals database, which covers recruits since the 2002 class. The other was 2009 Pitt signee Todd Thomas.


None available that I could readily find.




Junior highlights:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


Jeter's size and skill-set suggest he'll be an interior lineman, but Michigan's mammoth lines of late could very well be a trend, and it wouldn't be surprising if he at least starts his career as a strongside end in the Chris Wormley mold. It sounds like he'll need a couple years to develop before he sees regular action in the rotation, even though Michigan is going to need early contributors at defensive tackle from the 2017 class.

Jeter doesn't display the edge-rushing quickness to have All-American type upside, but he fits the mold of Surprisingly Athletic Large Dude that certainly has all-conference potential in Don Brown's defense.


Jeter is the 17th commit in the class and the third at DT, joining James Hudson and Philip Paea. Michigan will continue to prioritize top-100 UT DT Jay Tufele, who also was on campus for an official visit this weekend. We'll have to see how Jeter's commitment impacts the rest of the board on the defensive line; he's a similar player to in-state four-star Deron Irving-Bey, who recently seemed to favor Michigan over MSU. That recruitment could swing back to MSU's favor now depending on how the coaches want to approach numbers in the class; backing off of three-star RI DE Kwity Paye could open up that spot for Irving-Bey or recent offeree Rutger Reitmaier to squeeze into the class, which should get up to around 30 signees in total.

Here's the class as it currently stands:



October 23rd, 2016 at 5:46 PM ^

Can't really argue with his choice. Academics, coaching, program, campus, location, women, social life etc etc etc. We are better than notre dame in literally every facet.


October 23rd, 2016 at 5:47 PM ^

This is a great get and shows that this staff really loves those long, versatile lineman. His measurables are very similar to Hudson's and Deron Irving-Bey's. Love that they're bringing in guys that could easily play inside or outside. 


October 23rd, 2016 at 6:20 PM ^

This is the same kid who a week ago said he committed to ND too soon after getting caught up in the emotion of an official visit. He wanted to take his other visits. A week later, he commits following his next official visit. #crootin as the kids say.

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October 24th, 2016 at 10:14 AM ^

The kids don't say "crootin" - WE say that!
They only rarely seem to see any irony in all the "commitments" and decommitments, and I've yet to see one say all the hyperbole is really over-blown.

DPJ is the kid who gets this process as well as any I can recall. He has never even hinted at a "commitment" and he just says nice, even keeled things about every place he visits.

So, for the obvious reasons of his skeels, but also for his maturity - DO want!!!