Donovan Peoples-Jones has been soaking up knowledge for years.
Sometimes the four-star junior receiver from Detroit would get lessons on the practice field from older teammates at Cass Tech, which regularly churns out Division I talent. Other times he would just watch as they went through the recruiting process.
Either way, it’s added up to Peoples-Jones feeling comfortable going against elite cornerbacks and talking to elite programs. He’ll get another taste of top competition next month as an underclassman invite to The Opening.
“It helps a lot,” Peoples-Jones said. “We usually have like three big Division I players a year, people that have gone to the Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armour Game. You just learn and when you’re observing them you look for certain things. I just learned a lot over the last couple years being at a school like Cass Tech.”
Peoples-Jones is already in the midst of a recruiting process that’s put him to the forefront of the Class of 2017.
Notre Dame made its move during the spring evaluation period. Associate head coach Mike Denbrock and defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, the area recruiter, visited Cass Tech to check on Peoples-Jones and other prospects.
“Our relationship is building,” Peoples-Jones said. “Coach Gilmore was previously at North Carolina. He’s the grandfather of one of my teammates. Our relationship is definitely building. I’m just looking forward to what comes next.”
Peoples-Jones isn’t sure exactly what might come next, including a visit. He does know the Irish program has a top reputation.
“It’s a great school,” he said. “Great athletic tradition along with great academic tradition. That’s important for me. I’m going to school for academics, not only athletics.”
Some other visits, however, are taking shape.
Peoples-Jones plans to see Tennessee next week and USC later this month. There’s also a trip to Florida in the works for late July. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound prospect wants to see what programs outside the Midwest have to offer.
“I just wanna see if it’s everything people say it is,” Peoples-Jones said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about USC and Florida, a lot of good things about the state of California and Florida. I just want to visit to see it with my own eyes and make my own opinion.”
Right now there is no plan to narrow down the list of suitors coming out of these visits.
“It’s not a certain time table,” Peoples-Jones said. “Just whenever I feel the most comfortable. Maybe I release a top 10 or top five. Whenever I feel the most comfortable. Right now I just appreciate all the schools pursuing me and am enjoying the process.”