WHAT NOTRE DAME HAS
The Irish scored their 18th commitment overall and fourth defensive lineman in the Class of 2017 when four-star Donovan Jeter of Beaver Falls (Pa.) went public with his decision for Notre Dame on Monday morning.
The 6-foot-6, 261-pound strong-side defensive end is ranked as the No. 29 defensive end in the class, No. 6 defensive end in the East and No. 1 defensive end in Pennsylvania.
Jeter chose Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and Wisconsin.
Jeter’s size, length and athleticism make him a legit four-star prospect. His frame gives him plenty of room to add strength. Similar to fellow Irish strong-side defensive end commit Jonathon MacCollister, Jeter could develop into a three-technique.
Jeter lost almost 50 pounds following his junior year.
WHY IT MATTERS
Jeter had planned to announce a commitment on Oct. 31 from a top five released in July of Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. The Panthers had been considered the favorite since the spring. Jeter’s brother, Sheldon, played basketball at Pitt.
Michigan and Notre Dame emerged on the scene as major contenders in August, and the Irish, led by assistants Mike Elston and Keith Gilmore, landed Jeter’s first official visit. It was also Jeter’s first visit to Notre Dame.
Officials were on the schedule to Michigan and Penn State for October, but a visit to Notre Dame not only caused Jeter to cancel any future trips but to push up his decision date.
Notre Dame offered Jeter back in February.
Jeter gives the Irish five commits from Pennsylvania in the Class of 2017. He joins defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, offensive lineman Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle Josh Lugg and linebacker David Adams. All five were offered by Penn State and Pitt. Notre Dame also has a commitment from quarterback Phil Jurkovec of Gibsonia, Pa., in the Class of 2018. He ranks No. 4 among all quarterbacks in his class.
Jeter propelled Notre Dame to No. 5 in Scout’s team rankings. A better indicator of recruiting success at this time of year, though, is average stars per commitment. Notre Dame ranks No. 7 in that category, averaging 3.72 stars.
Notre Dame has one top 100 prospect committed (tight end and No. 81 overall prospect Brock Wright), which is the least amount of top 100 players for schools ranked in the top 10 for star power.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WANTS
Notre Dame has already hit its defensive line target with four commitments.
However, Jeter and MacCollister project strong-side while Darnell Ewell and Hinish project along the interior.
Notre Dame still needs a pure edge rusher in this class.
Three-star weak-side defensive end K'Jakyre Daley's offer isn’t committable at the time, so that leaves four-star linebacker Jacob Phillips, who took his official visit to South Bend last weekend. He is Notre Dame’s only viable target on the board with the ability to get to the backfield off the edge in a base 4-3 defense.
Phillips’ decision will likely come down to Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. He’s planning an October decision. The Sooners and Irish have already received official visits, and Alabama is set to receive one in two weeks.
Notre Dame will lose Isaac Rochell after the season but return the rest of the defensive end roster. Jonathan Bonner and Khalid Kareem will be back, with Bonner owning two more years of eligibility and Kareem having three. The weak side will return Andrew Trumbetti, Jay Hayes and Daelin Hayes.
The interior will lose Jarron Jones after this season. Juniors Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah will be back. Sophomores Jerry Tillery, Micah Dew-Treadway, Elijah Taylor and Brandon Tiassum are all set to return as well.