Donovan Jeter, Wolverine

Donovan Jeter, Wolverine

October 24, 2016

Beaver Falls (PA) Beaver Falls DT Donovan Jeter (image via Scout)

Beaver Falls (PA) Beaver Falls defensive tackle Donovan Jeter committed to the Wolverines on Sunday. Previously committed to Notre Dame, he chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Stanford, and UCLA, among others.

Jeter is listed at 6’5″, 285 lbs. on his Hudl page.

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #28 DT
Rivals: 4-star, #14 DT
Scout: 4-star, #30 DE, #300 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #8 SDE, #237 overall

Hit the jump for more on Jeter’s recruitment.

Jeter had eliminated Michigan even prior to choosing Notre Dame a few weeks ago. Shortly before the short-lived commitment, he announced that he would once again be considering the Wolverines and scheduled an official visit. Then he pulled the trigger for Notre Dame, which lasted a couple weeks, decommitted, scheduled an official to Ann Arbor for this past weekend’s game against Illinois, and committed to Michigan on Sunday. It’s been a whirlwind month for him, and with recruitments like these, it’s hard to believe the whirlwind is completely finished.

Jeter has a large frame and good wingspan. He has been listed anywhere between 250 and 300 lbs. over the past couple years, and Hudl currently lists him at 6’5″, 285 lbs., which looks to be pretty accurate. He uses his wingspan to cover a lot of space¬†when it comes to wrapping up quarterbacks and ball carriers. He can be a very physical tackler and has the quickness to make a big impact when he arrives. When he wants to, he can fire off the ball low and with a good burst, making him an intriguing prospect as a tackle/end tweener.

I don’t see a ton of consistency in Jeter’s junior film. He uses his hands well at times, and then he gets sloppy. He gets good extension on one play and then keeps his hands outside on the next. He fires off the ball one play, and then he hops out of his stance on the next. He gets both hands on the tackle at times, and then he just steps outside and waits for the play to run its course. Whether it’s conditioning or coaching or the general malaise that comes along with being an elite high school football player, he doesn’t show a great motor. His competition is generally pretty poor, and he sometimes seems loathe to physically punish the guys trying to block him. He saves the punishment for ball carriers, but he’ll need to be more physical at the point of attack at the next level.

Overall, with the way we’ve seen Michigan develop defensive linemen over the past several years, there’s no reason to expect that Jeter will fail to progress when he gets to campus. My guess is that improved strength and conditioning, along with rotation to keep him fresh, will allow him to play more consistently. He needs a lot of work on technique, but two brothers have made it to Nebraska and Pitt as pretty good basketball players, so it’s a family that presumably responds well to coaching and improvement. I see him being a 3-technique tackle at the next level, because he lacks the speed to be an edge rusher and plays a little too high for a regular nose tackle. But depending on how his body develops, he could play any of those three positions.

Michigan’s 2017 class is now back up to 17 commitments. Michigan needs defensive tackles in this class, and Jeter fills a spot that was once occupied by Aubrey Solomon. He joins DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DT Phillip Paea, and DT James Hudson on the defensive line, though the latter two could end up on the offensive line. According to the 2016 scholarship count, the class should reach at least 23 (LINK).

Jeter would be the first Michigan player from Beaver Falls since QB/DE William Ross in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The last player to come from Pennsylvania was 2016 signee Khaleke Hudson.

TTB Rating: 83 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Oct 24, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    I laughed out loud at the kid in black playing tackle deciding to maybe take a play off, pretend he didn’t see the behemoth in front of him and kind of wander off to bump into someone else.

    I can’t say that I blamed him.

  2. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Oct 24, 2016 at 11:12 AM

    I love these commitment articles. Great job.

    I am typically on board with most of what you write. In this case, I think you may be giving him too high of a score. But, I’m assuming some of that score has to do with his size, which is impressive. Assuming he gets proper coaching and can still move well with the added muscle, he could be a solid player. However, the game tape of him beating up on 170 lb tackles is not that impressive. Neither is his explosion which to me signifies he’s definitely not playing DE.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 24, 2016 at 11:33 AM

      I get what you’re saying, but what linemen on Michigan’s roster haven’t achieved that grade at this point? Off the top of my head, I think every guy who’s in his third year or beyond is at that point, except maybe Lawrence Marshall. And Rashan Gary is probably at that level already, too. So we’re basically looking at Michael Dwumfour, Marshall, Reuben Jones, Shelton Johnson, and Michael Onwenu (if he plays defense) as not reaching that point yet.

      I think he has good explosion when he wants to play that way. He just doesn’t have the motor to get it done. But that was an issue with Chris Wormley, too, and Wormley stepped it up once he got to college. It’s tough to predict right now whether a guy is going to buy in or not.

    • Comments: 77
      Joined: 1/22/2016
      Oct 24, 2016 at 11:53 AM

      He looks like he’s got a pretty good burst to me. I like him more than Hudson and Irving-Bey. His film looks more impressive than Wormley’s high school film to me too. Time will tell, but I think the staff is going to turn him into a pretty good DL.

      • Comments: 182
        Joined: 9/15/2015
        Oct 24, 2016 at 5:45 PM

        dont recall wormleys film enough to comment but i agree re hudson and irving-bey. jeter currently looks more talented than those 2 and appears to have more potential than both as well (but thats the beauty of college ball – and why its recruiting, why they spend 3-5 years with great S&C staffs and refining technique with guys like mattison, etc).

        i like jeters frame but thunder is right in that hes extremely inconsistent with his get off, leverage, hand usage and placement, effort, etc – but if mattison and crew can drill into his head to play fast and low and with violent hands and disciplined eyes and feet, hell be a nice player. and he offers some versatility in that he should be able to play inside or outside (though hell never be an elite edge rusher) which the coaches obviously value. if he wants to improve, doesnt mind hard work, has the mental aptitude and is willing to accept coaching (and i have no reason to believe he doesnt) then jeter will obviously help this team.

        aside from several dudes like tufele and solomon, m hasnt been in on many above average to elite DT type prospects (maybe there arent many in this class like lawrence or wilkins at clemson, payne at bama, etc since those types typically jump off the screen, or maybe theyre around with most just not interested in m this cycle – i dont watch enough tape to really know, i usually just watch clips of dudes m offers or i see on certain sites). ive seen tape on several osu DL commits and theyre pretty talented and ive seen a few others as well, maybe fsu or lsu, i dont recall. jeter is a nice pickup though, especially compared to most other available targets.

        but i actually loved the film of oregon commit rutger reitmaier – competition doesnt look great but hes a talented kid. who knows if he ends up being a future pro but i think reitmaier has the ability to be a very very good college player. id love to see m sign him. tufele appears to be the top target and for good reason – hes a talented prospect with a ton of potential. but reitmaier would instantly become m’s best DT prospect in this current class, in my opinion.

        they have a great staff and a winning, competitive culture in place – the DL should be fine, provided they have the bodies. i do like the idea of finding quick, versatile athletes to bulk up and teach to excel at multiple techniques. theres only so many high school prospects ready to rock early in their careers and not in need of almost total overhauls to their bodies and the fundamentals of their games – no clue on the ratio but for every gary or asiasi theres scores of hursts, wormleys, etc that just need time to mature and reps to grow as players. guys like kemp, paea, jeter, etc should be capable players after 1-2 years lifting and technique work, whether theyre outside or sliding inside to DT

        • Comments: 77
          Joined: 1/22/2016
          Oct 24, 2016 at 7:45 PM

          I am with you on Rutger Reitmaier. He is up there with Tufele as my most wanted recruit at DT. Reitmaier’s film is unreal good. I think he will be every bit as good as Glasgow, Hurst, and Willie Henry. He reminds me quite a bit of Hurst.

    • Comments: 1357
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Oct 24, 2016 at 12:34 PM

      Everything Thunder said, and ….. You are watching film of a 6’5″ probably plus, 300-ish lbs. 17 year old kid here. There is no way the kid on that vid weighs 250 lbs. The claim is that he’s lost some baby fat, I’ll take that one at face value and attribute the right kind of mind as a result. This is a mammoth kid who should become really strong in a big time S&C program. Somebody said Willy Henry over on the other site, I’m more likely to think Chris Wormley as has Thunder ….. maybe Mone. Maybe not quite as explosive, but I wouldn’t assume on this kid one way or the other. This kid could be a real problem for people at the point of attack and as a pocket collapsing bull rusher.

      As an aside, I like nasty a lot, but i also like brains enough to know when you got the world by the ass. I’m kind of glad he lets the kid in black live.

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