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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Donovan Jeter Decommits And Elijah Hicks Commits; What’s Next?

After weeks of virtual silence, Notre Dame football recruiting got some hot takes on Tuesday.

via @ELITHEMAN1 twitter

In college football, if a school starts losing, has a bunch of bad press, and generally looks as if it is in the middle of a dumpster fire; bad news on the recruiting front will happen.

On Tuesday, one of the gems of the 2017 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football recruiting class, publicly went to Twitter and announced his decommitment from the program.

A couple of things here:

  • Jeter claims Notre Dame is still at the top of his list.
  • Jeter wanted to take some official visits, but didn’t want to do that as an Irish commit.
  • Grown men (and probably women too) have been tweeting some nasty things to Jeter.
  • Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister calls Jeter the closest thing to Stephon Tuitt that Notre Dame could hope for, while Pete Sampson also claims that he was the most important commitment of the class.

Jeter’s commitment after the Michigan State game was a surprise, and he has been very public in his support of Brian Kelly and Notre Dame during this rough season. Having said that, none of what has happened has been a surprise. Once again, Notre Dame struggles mightily during the recruitment of an elite defensive lineman.

Signing day is still over three months away, but the recruitment of Jeter seems like wishful thinking at best- no matter the lip service being provided.

Elijah Hicks pulls the trigger

While Notre Dame lost the commitment of one defensive recruit, they gained another with 3 star cornerback Elijah Hicks.

Hicks chose Notre Dame over a host of other schools such as Michigan, UCLA, and Washington. 247 National Director of Scouting, Barton Simmons had this to say about Hicks:

"There are other players nationally that have better measurables, better size, speed and athletic ability, but Hicks is one of the more instinctive, competitive defensive backs in this class.”

Hicks joins Paulson Adebo and Isiah Robertson as Notre Dame’s commits for the secondary- a unit that has took much criticism this year, but is also very young. Notre Dame is routinely playing 4 freshman at a time in the defensive backfield.

What’s next?

It would be easy to pile on Notre Dame right now, and perhaps the bad news will continue to pile on as the season draws closer and closer to the end. Despite claims to the contrary, Brian Kelly’s recruiting classes have generally been full of commitments that stay true to their public commitment.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and that is how it is ANYWHERE in the country (yes, even the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes deal with this).

As far as Jeter goes, the struggle just got harder as programs that haven’t offered him yet- will, and this will be something that can put a lot of stress on the kid and his family. Generally, a recruit that decommits from a program rarely ends back up with the school on signing day.

So, “what’s next?” can be a question we ask for a prelude of bad news, but it is also what we ask to see how Notre Dame, Brian Kelly, and Mike Elston handle this situation. Notre Dame needs better defensive lineman. How they handle that, may determine how they handle the rest of this class.

Numbers Game

The current 2017 scholarship chart for Notre Dame is pretty full. Notre Dame now has 91 scholarships spoken for out of 85 possible. The Irish are always dealing with some attrition every offseason and this one should be no different. The key here, is that out of all the possible fifth year seniors for 2017 (9), I expect no more than 3 to return next season. Those three are most likely Colin McGovern, Mike McGlinchey, and Durham Smythe.

This would bring the current number right to 85- and that doesn’t include the possible return of Devin Butler.

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Fifth Year Senior

Avery Davis

Ian Book

Brandon Wimbush*

DeShone Kizer*

Malik Zaire

Running Back

CJ Holmes

Deon Macintosh

Tony Jones

Josh Adams

Dexter Williams

Justin Brent*

Tarean Folston

Wide Receiver

Jordan Pouncey

Michael Young

Chase Claypool

Javon McKinley

Kevin Stepherson

CJ Sanders

Miles Boykin*

Equanimous St. Brown

Corey Holmes*

Tori Hunter Jr.

Tight End

Cole Kmet

Brock Wright

Alize' Jones

Nic Weishar*

Tyler Luatua

Jacob Matuska

Durham Smythe


Tristan Hoge*

Sam Mustipher*


Dillan Gibbons

Robert Hainsey

Parker Boudreaux

Trevor Ruhland*

Jimmy Byrne*

Quentin Nelson*

Colin McGovern

Hunter Biven


Josh Lugg

Liam Eichenberg

Tommy Kraemer

Alex Bars*

Mike McGlinchey

Defensive Tackle

Darnell Ewell

Kurt Hinish

Jerry Tillery

Micah Dew-Treadway*

Brandon Tiassum*

Elijah Taylor*

Pete Mokwah*

Daniel Cage

John Montelus

Defensive End

Jonathon MacCollister

Ade Ogundeji

Julian Okwara

Daelin Hayes

Khalid Kareem

Jonathon Bonner

Jay Hayes*

Andrew Trumbetti


David Adams

Pete Werner

Drew White

Jamir Jones

Jonathon Jones

TeVon Coney

Josh Barajas*

Asmar Bilal*

Greer Martini

Nyles Morgan


Paulson Adebo

Elijah Hicks

Julian Love

Donte Vaughn

Troy Pride

Shaun Crawford*

Ashton White*

Nick Coleman

Nick Watkins

Isaiah Robertson

Spencer Perry

DJ Morgan

Devin Studstill

Jalen Elliott

Nico Fertitta

Drue Tranquill*


John Shannon

Justin Yoon

Tyler Newsome*
Totals 18/85 41/85 62/85 82/85 91/85

* Player eligible for a fifth year.