How is Notre Dame's 2017 recruiting class holding up after Donovan Jeter's de-commitment?

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

It took Donovan Jeter less than a month to change his mind.

A 6-foot-5, 260-pound 2017 defensive lineman and consensus four-star recruit, Jeter announced on his Twitter account on Tuesday that he has de-committed from Notre Dame.

"After praying and thinking about it I've decided to decommit from Notre dame but they are still my top school. I am opening my recruitment," Jeter tweeted.

On Tuesday evening, Jeter further clarified that while he is no longer an Irish commit, that doesn't mean the door has been permanently closed on Notre Dame.

"I don't want Notre Dame fans to think I'm not coming back. I wanna see other schools and I didn't wanna take other officials as a ND commit," Jeter tweeted.

Jeter did not respond to an interview request on Tuesday, but 2017 Notre Dame running back commit C.J. Holmes said he was not surprised by the defensive lineman's sudden withdrawal.

“You’re shocked, because it’s out of the blue," Holmes said. "But honestly, he committed very quickly. I didn’t know how sure he really was with his commitment.

"It didn’t seem like there was a whole lot of evaluation that went into it. I wasn’t very surprised, to be honest.”

"We are doing great, if he didn't like ND then that's up to him," defensive tackle commit Kurt Hinish added in a message to the Tribune. "We are not mad at him we obviously want the best for everyone. Go Irish."

A native of Beaver Falls, Pa., Jeter verbally committed to Notre Dame on Sept. 19, two days after taking an official visit to South Bend and witnessing the team's 36-28 loss to Michigan State. He joined 2017 commits offensive linemen Robert Hainsey and Josh Lugg, defensive tackle Kurt Hinish and linebacker David Adams and 2018 commits quarterback Phil Jurkovec and linebacker Bo Bauer as Irish commits with ties to western Pennsylvania.

Jeter was the only prospect in the 2017 or 2018 classes to commit to Notre Dame since the 2016 season started. The Irish have stumbled into a disappointing 2-5 start. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was fired on Sept. 25, a day after the 38-35 home loss to Duke. Greg Hudson was named the team's interim defensive coordinator.

And yet, despite Jeter's de-commitment and a string of unexpected losses, Holmes said that Notre Dame's remaining commits have not been shaken by the recent turmoil. Quite the contrary, the Irish added a new commit in cornerback Elijah Hicks late on Tuesday night.

“Everybody’s staying positive," Holmes said. "Everyone who’s still here is still here because we want to be here. That’s the talk on the group chat. There’s no waver. We’re just using this as a day to express how much we’ve grown attached to Notre Dame.

"Me personally, I didn’t commit to Notre Dame for coaches. I didn’t commit to Notre Dame for a record. I committed to Notre Dame because I want to graduate from Notre Dame. I want to go to the school. That’s really the attitude for everyone. I think we all made the right decisions in our process, which is why we’re so comfortable with going to ND.”

Prior to reconsidering and eventually committing to Notre Dame, Jeter listed a top five of Alabama, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State and Tennessee in late July. Less than an hour after announcing his Irish de-commitment, Jeter tweeted that he has received a scholarship offer from Oklahoma. 

“He has size. He has speed. He’s aggressive,” CBS Sports Network Tom Lemming said of Jeter following his commitment to Notre Dame in September. “He’s the kind of guy that Notre Dame doesn’t usually get.”

Without Jeter, Notre Dame currently has 18 verbal commits and three defensive line commits — defensive tackles Hinish and Darnell Ewell and defensive end Jonathon MacCollister — in the 2017 class. He became the second prospect in the 2017 class to de-commit from Notre Dame, joining four-star defensive end and current Georgia commit Robert Beal. 

In the wake of Jeter's de-commitment (and Hicks' commitment), Notre Dame's 2017 recruiting class is ranked sixth nationally by both Rivals and 247Sports. 

After praying and thinking about it I've decided to decommit from Norte dame but they are still my top school. I am opening my recruitment

— Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 18, 2016

I don't want Notre Dame fans to think I'm not coming back. I wanna see other schools and I didn't wanna take other officials as a ND commit

— Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 18, 2016

Captains don't jump when a ship gets a hole... #LOYALTY ☘️☘️☘️

— 1K (@CjHo1mes) October 18, 2016

Loyal to family ✊ ☘️

— Ovie Oghoufo (@OVO17_) October 18, 2016

❗️❗️❗️ https://t.co/5HrN1dZa0v

— Robert Hainsey (@RH56__) October 18, 2016

Defensive end recruit Donovan Jeter, a former Irish commit, enters Notre Dame Stadium before the Michigan State game. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)