Donovan Jeter flips from Notre Dame to Michigan
Marek Mazurek | Friday, October 28, 2016
Despite not playing a game, the Irish saw their season take another hit last week when four-star defensive line prospect Donovan Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame and verbally committed to Michigan just a few days later.
To rub salt in the wounds for Notre Dame fans, Jeter said talking to Irish head coach Brian Kelly “wasn’t fun. It wasn’t cool,” in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jeter later apologized for those comments.
Blue and Gold Illustrated recruiting analyst Bryan Driskell said there’s more than meets the eye in Jeter’s case and believes academic scheduling issues may have lead to Jeter’s departure.
“Well, there was a bit of an issue with Donovan about what he needed to do to gain admittance to Notre Dame in the spring,” Driskell said. “Donovan wants to be an early-enrollee, and right now, there’s some work he needed to do. Not a lot, just a minor thing — a class here — that he needed to take before he could get enrolled. So that wasn’t going to work out.”
And though Jeter’s comments about Kelly may anger some Irish fans, Driskell said Jeter’s decommitment probably won’t start a trend among other Notre Dame commits.
“When you look at the way the other recruits like C.J. Holmes and Avery Davis and guys like that, the way they responded after [Jeter’s] decision, it’s obvious they’re still bought in,” Driskell said. “I think that if the season continues to go in a downward direction, it wouldn’t surprise me if other kids had some doubts about the direction of the program. But I don’t think Donovan Jeter’s decision will have anything to do with that.”
Though Jeter’s departure did make headlines over the bye week, the Irish did pick up a verbal commitment from cornerback Elijah Hicks. Driskell said Hicks stands out as an athletic player, as he has experience against top high school receivers.
“I really like that pickup,” Driskell said. “What he does — it brings an upgrade in athleticism and versatility in a secondary that’s very young and lacking proven, experienced players. The thing I like about Elijah is he can play cornerback. He’s a very talented corner, [and] he goes against top-notch competition in California … this is a kid that gets tested on a weekly basis, and he’s really stepped up and performed.”
Another aspect of Hicks’ game the Irish like is his ability to play all over the field, Driskell said.
“The other thing he brings to the table is he’s very versatile,” Driskell said. “He can play nickel easily. He could come in as a freshman and help out at nickel. He’s a kid that’s got the instincts, he plays the ball exceptionally well for a high school kid [and] drives on routes quickly, which would translate very nicely to the free safety position. He’s a kid you could see starting at three different positions. … Guys like that are great additions to the class … you could easily slide, if the need arose, Hicks to free safety, or maybe that addition allows you to move an upperclassmen corner to safety. Notre Dame loves versatility and this staff loves going after guys that can play multiple positions, and he certainly fits that bill.”
The Miami game this weekend marks the second to last game at Notre Dame Stadium this season, and though the weather may still be pleasant, Driskell said the Irish have only a small list of recruits scheduled to be in town this Saturday.
“Right now, the only 2017 kid I’m aware of that’s coming up right now is receiver Noah Igbinoghene,” Driskell said. “I’d say the best kid on campus this week … [is] four-star California corner Brendan Radley-Hiles — really talented player [who] posts with the some of the current commits. They tweet with him a lot, [and he’s] very high on Notre Dame’s list.”
And with the 2017 class being mostly filled out, Driskell said the Irish have their eye on the future with a few of the recruits coming into town.
“And then also Kenny McIntosh, who’s a 2019 player, so he’s a current sophomore,” Driskell said. “Extremely talented running back, [and] he’s the younger brother of [current Notre Dame freshman] Deon McIntosh. I know Notre Dame is very high on him; he’s a very talented player. It’s a small weekend as of right now from a numbers standpoint, but the guys that are going to be on campus this weekend are very talented players.”