Michigan successfully lured away one Pennsylvania’s top prospects in 2016 when McKeesport Khaleke Hudson signed his national letter of intent a few weeks back. Bow the Wolverines are back in the Keystone State hoping for a similar outcome another top talent in Beaver Falls defensive end Donovan Jeter.
"They've been sending me letters since the beginning of football season and then their defensive coordinator sent me a DM (Thursday) giving me his number,” Jeter told The Michigan Insider. “He told me to call him. I called him and he gave me the offer."
Michigan was Jeter’s 22nd program to do so, but that doesn’t mean the Wolverines are late to the party. While there are admittedly coaches he has forged early connections with, he insists he is still fairly wide open.
"Coach Narduzzi from Pitt, (Penn State’s) James Franklin, and (Ohio State’s) Urban Meyer (are coaches he has bonded with),” Jeter said. “Just those three, to be honest. But (there isn’t a leader). Not yet. I haven't really sat down to think about it. I've been worrying about basketball."
The key to other schools building similar connections is getting the talented youngster on campus. Brown made clear his desire to host Jeter in Ann Arbor as soon as possible during their conversation.
"I told them I'll probably be up in the summer,” Jeter reported. “Obviously it's a great program. Harbaugh is a great coach and they just have great tradition up there in Ann Arbor so I think everybody knows about Michigan."
And yet there is still much more to find out. Jeter has a long list of criteria that he plans to measure the Maize & Blue and all the rest of his suitors against.
"I want to play early, get a great education, and I just want to feel a sense of home,” he said. “I want to be able to trust the coaches. I don't want a coach telling me one thing and then when I get there he just switches up completely. I don't want that. Just a sense of truthfulness. I want to play early and you've got to have great tradition. I'm not going to go to a school that, you've got to be a winner."
Based on Jeter’s physical maturity and dominating level of play as a junior it’s not at far-fetched to think project him being in the thick of competition for playing time as a true freshman.
"Right now I'm about 6-foot-5.5 and 265-pounds,” said Jeter. “I ran a 4.81 at the Ohio State camp. I would say I kind of want to be like J.J. Watt. He's a beast so I want to be like him. That's probably my favorite player in the NFL right now. I kind of play angry. It's not fun lining up against me. I'm going to hit you every single play as hard as I can."
"I had 87 tackles and 15 sacks (last year). We went to the second round of the playoffs. We should've won the game but we had simple mistakes but we're a pretty good team, we were like the No. 6 team in the state so we're a pretty good team."
Jeter plans to take his game to an even higher level next year. For now though his focus is on the hardwood. That means recruiting is on the backburner for the time being.
"This summer I'll sit down, take visits, and get (a decision) out of the way before football season,” he said. “I don't want it to be a distraction for my team, so I'm probably just going to commit before my football season."
Jeter plans to lean on his tight circle consisting his coaches, parents, and his brother (who was a highly regarded basketball recruit before heading to Pitt) to help him with his decision. That said, he knows he will hear from numerous others with opinions on what he should do. That includes Hudson with whom he has become fairly well acquainted.
“We've talked a lot about recruiting and stuff,” stated Jeter. “We went to Penn State junior days together. I kind of know a few of the top recruits in my area."
"(Hudson hasn’t offered his opinion) yet but, I expect he will be." (Laughter)null