Last spring there wasn’t any question in Donovan Jeter's mind about how he fit into Michigan's defensive line recruiting picture. Frequent contact with the Wolverines assured him he was among the top targets on their board. However, by late summer things had changed significantly. The Maize & Blue picked up five defensive line commitments in the span of four months, nearly satisfying their planned allotment. That seemingly left Jeter to sort through a group of favorites that no longer included Michigan. Before moving on officially, though, he decided to check in one last time.
“I’ve been talking to them lately,” Jeter told The Michigan Insider. “About a week ago I texted (Greg Mattison) asked him, ‘do you guys still have any interest in me?’ He said they have a lot of interest. I said, ‘alright then’ and then we started talking again. Then I set up an official visit.”
Jeter will make his way to Ann Arbor for the first time October 1st for the Wolverines’ match up with Wisconsin. The sudden revival comes of his Michigan recruitment comes just as Jim Harbaugh & company are broadening their defensive line recruiting net again on the heels of the decommitment of Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County standout Aubrey Solomon. Now with Jeter’s decision date much closer, there appears much less of a chance of any of his suitors filling up before he is ready to make the call.
“I’m committing (to one of his favorites) on Halloween night,” Jeter reported. “I’m going to get (all official visits in) in by then.”
Next week’s trip to Ann Arbor will ultimately determine Michigan’s viability in the race for the talented youngster’s services. There is clearly ground to make up, but his appreciation for his would-be coach in Ann Arbor helps give them a legitimate shot at doing so.
“I like their defensive line coach (Greg Mattison),” Jeter told The Michigan Insider earlier this summer. “He was the Ravens defensive coordinator for a couple years and he coached Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs. They had the best defense in the league almost every year, that would be my position coach. That's kind of big to me.”
It was then and it still is now.
“Basically it’s a NFL coaching staff (at Michigan),” Jeter reiterated Wednesday. “Greg Mattison, Harbaugh… so that plays a part. Great education. And the stadium is amazing.”
Based on one of his most important factors for picking a school, that last point could be a major feather in Michigan’s cap.
“I feel like I’m a big time player and I want to make big time plays on a big time stage,” Jeter said confidently.
“(The decision will come down to) a good relationship with the coaches, do I like the campus, a good education, and most of all good football.”
The Keystone State star also has official visits set up to Notre Dame (September 17th) and Penn State (October 22nd) and is also still considering Ohio State, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
Of all of those schools, Jeter is most familiar with Pitt. Proximity and the presence of his brother Sheldon on the Panthers’ basketball team have made sure of that.
“I don’t need to take an official to Pitt because I go up there all the time,” he said.
That has led many to believe that Pitt is the clear favorite to land him.
Not so says Jeter.
“I don’t really have a top school right now, or a top one, or top 5,” Jeter told Scout. “Everybody is in the mix.”