And thus ends the months-long saga of five-star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes. We think.
A five-star member of Notre Dame’s 2013 recruiting class, questions regarding the defensive lineman’s actual commitment to the Irish surfaced shortly after National Signing Day. UCLA was widely viewed as the frontrunner for the Auburn, Cal., player’s services until an official visit to South Bend a week before signing day prompted a flip.
That’s now become a double-back reverse flip, however, as Vanderdoes confirmed in a statement to the Sacramento Bee that Notre Dame has rescinded its initial recruiting ban and allowed the tackle to sign with the Bruins. Vanderdoes said in the statement that he had “very personal reasons” for wanting to “remain close to home.”
“I am honored and humbled that Note Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship,” a portion of Vanderdoes’ statement read. “They have been very gracious to recognize not only how difficult a decision this was, but also how important it was for me to be near my family at this time. I take my commitments seriously, but as circumstances changed, the most important commitment is the one made to family.”
UCLA head coach Jim Mora subsequently made it officially official by welcoming Vanderdoes “to the Bruin Family” via Twitter.
According to ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, however, the Irish did not release Vanderdoes from his National Letter of Intent, which would mean the player would be forced to sit out the 2013 season. Vanderdoes will still be on scholarship and permitted to practice with his new teammates, although he would give up a year of eligibility for breaking his Notre Dame NLI. Such a scenario would leave him four years to use three seasons of eligibility.
One of Notre Dame’s concerns, the Bee reported, was that Vanderdoes would sign with UCLA’s cross-town rival USC. The Irish and the Trojans, obviously, have an annual rivalry game of their own and led in part to the initial recruiting ban.
Regardless of the whys and hows of the situation, it’s yet another personnel blow for the Irish and a huge pickup for the Bruins.
Vanderdoes was rated by Rivals.com as the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle and No. 21 player at any position. In talent-rich California, the 6-3, 310-pound lineman was ranked as the No. 3 player in the state.
(Photo credit: U.A. Army All-American Bowl)