Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 3, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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44 OCT. 3, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Not many would have guessed Beaver Falls (Pa.) High four-star defensive lineman Donovan Jeter would have pulled the trigger Sept. 19, committing to Notre Dame shortly after his official visit to South Bend. And why would they — Jeter him- self didn't even expect it to happen. "It kind of caught me off guard," the 6-5, 255-pounder said. "I'm happy I committed … I knew I was going to commit to Notre Dame after the visit. So there was no point in me waiting all the way until Halloween." Jeter, Rivals' No. 14 defensive tackle in the nation and a Pennsyl- vania Football Writers Class AA All- State pick as a junior, referenced the education Notre Dame can offer as one of the key factors in his decision. "I couldn't pass it up," he said. "I just kept thinking about the edu- cation. They are one of the top ac- ademic schools in the country, Ivy League or not. "I think it's a good place for me because there are only 8,000 students there. That means classes are about 20 people. I'll be able to build a good relationship with my professors." Notre Dame fans can thank current 2017 defensive tackle commit Kurt Hinish and linebackers coach Mike Elston for the part they played in lur- ing the talented big man to South Bend. "Notre Dame wasn't even in my top five in July," Jeter said. "I was at Kennywood [Amusement Park] with Kurt Hinish. He was just on my case — 'You've got to come to Notre Dame with me and this and that.' Kurt and I are good friends, and on the way home I was thinking they are Notre Dame, and I put them back in. "Coach Elston played a big role because he talked to me all the time, just checking on me and pitching me on Notre Dame. It just showed I was important to them." Jeter got a firsthand account of the passion of the Irish fan base. "I've been to a lot of college games, and I've never seen anything like it," Jeter said. When asked what stood out to him about Notre Dame that he didn't ex- pect heading into the visit Jeter said: "The campus. Their campus is re- ally beautiful. It seems every build- ing has a major significance. I saw Touchdown Jesus, and that was the highlight of the visit." Jeter was impressed with his future position coach Keith Gilmore. "He's a good guy," Jeter said. "His football IQ and level of knowledge of the game is amazing. Some of the techniques he uses are very skilled — ones I've never seen before." Freshman defensive lineman Julian Okwara served as Jeter's player host for the visit. The duo also spent time with sophomore defensive lineman Jerry Tillery. One may expect the other schools involved in his recruitment like Pitts- burgh and Penn State won't go down without a fight. But, Jeter said he is done with the process. "I'm not taking any more visits," Jeter said. "I'm not one of those kids who commits to a school then goes to another school and tries to get persuaded out of the school they are committed to. When I commit to something, I'm committed to it 100 percent." Even though Notre Dame lost to Michigan State, Jeter has high expec- tations for where the Irish can be in a couple of years. "You could tell they were a young team that just made simple mis- takes," Jeter said of the game. "I think in two to three years we'll be the best team in the country." Jeter's mother and father also made the trip to South Bend. Both parents loved the visit and were happy with the decision, especially his father. "My dad has been a big Notre Dame fan his whole life," Jeter said. "He was thrilled when I told him I was going to Notre Dame." The 18th member of the 2017 class, Jeter plans to enroll early at Notre Dame. — Corey Bodden COMMITMENT PROFILE DONOVAN JETER Four-Star Lineman Cherishes Opportunities At Notre Dame Jeter is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Penn- sylvania, and the No. 8 strongside defensive end and No. 237 player nationally by 247Sports. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN FILM ANALYSIS Strengths At 6-5 and 255 pounds, Donovan Jeter has the size and quickness to play the strongside end position … A natural pass rusher and a disrupter off the edge, he uses his length and power to manhandle prep opponents … Versa- tile lineman that could easily grow into a defen- sive tackle at Notre Dame, or at least be used inside in certain situations … Used to weigh 285 pounds, and he has the frame to easily get to that level again … If he can do that and maintain his quickness, he could be a legitimate three- down force for the Irish defense down the road. Areas For Improvement Must continue to get stronger and reshape his body … Improving his conditioning level and playing with a more consistent motor is also needed. — Bryan Driskell "I COULDN'T PASS IT UP. I JUST KEPT THINKING ABOUT THE EDUCATION. THEY ARE ONE OF THE TOP ACADEMIC SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY, IVY LEAGUE OR NOT." JETER ON WHY HE SELECTED NOTRE DAME

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