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Notre Dame and Eddie Vanderdoes officially part ways

Jun 4, 2013, 5:11 PM EDT


Eddie Vanderdoes won’t be attending Notre Dame. Both Brian Kelly and the talented defensive lineman agree on that. How the situation ever got to this point, well that’s a story most people are still trying to figure out.

Today, after a few weeks of murky details slowly coming to the surface, Vanderdoes, Notre Dame and UCLA made statements clarifying Vanderdoes’ college football future.

First the headline: Vanderdoes will be attending UCLA. But Kelly and the Irish coaching staff didn’t release Vanderdoes from his letter-of-intent, allowed Vanderdoes to enroll at school in Westwood, but keeping him off the football field for the Bruins, giving him four years to play out three seasons of eligibility.

Kelly and the Notre Dame football program released this carefully crafted statement:

“Eddie Vanderdoes will not be attending the University of Notre Dame. We did not release him from his national letter of intent in order to protect the integrity of that very important program, but we have worked with the Vanderdoes family so that Eddie can continue his education this fall at a school closer to his home. We understand Eddie’s interest in remaining closer to his family and wish him well.”

Vanderdoes, one of the top recruits in the country, has stayed mostly quiet on his desire to get out of his letter-of-intent with Notre Dame and instead attend UCLA. While promising clarity on the situation to both ESPN’s Joe Schad and the Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson, who seems to have had a line into the Vanderdoes family from the start of this, Vanderdoes has remained scant on the details for his change of heart, instead citing changing family circumstances.

“I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for lifting the recruiting ban and allowing me to sign an athletic scholarship with UCLA,” Vanderdoes said via text message to the Sacramento Bee. “Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family. For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and be near those who are most important in my life.

“I am honored and humbled that Note Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship. 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.”

Vanderdoes, who lives six-and-a-half hours via car away from UCLA, will stay home in California, making Bruins head coach Jim Mora a happy man. After coming up just short for Vanderdoes’ signature on Signing Day, how the Bruins were able to make inroads after Vanderdoes’ letter-of-intent was signed remains to be seen, but UCLA denied any wrongdoing to the Sacramento Bee.

“We’re very excited to welcome Eddie to the Bruin family. We know what kind of quality person Eddie is,”UCLA defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Angus McClure told the Bee. “When the recruiting ban was lifted, we were able to make contact, and he showed interest in UCLA.”

Just when that recruiting ban was lifted is up for debate. That date could have been as recent as the last ten days according to sources, which would make sense considering both defensive line coach Mike Elston and Kelly publicly stated that they expected to see Vanderdoes in South Bend when freshmen showed up in mid-June.

But as the Irish staff showed with high profile defectors like Aaron Lynch and Gunner Kiel, there was no chasing after a player that didn’t want to be in South Bend. Allowing Vanderdoes to get his education in Westwood, while also protecting the sanctity of the letter-of-intent seemed like the lesser of two evils, and doesn’t allow for a scary precedent to be set that would effectively force coaches to continue to recruit signed players until they show up at summer school.

The loss of the talented defensive lineman is a blow to the Irish depth chart, though one that might not be felt for a few seasons, with Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt and Sheldon Day locked into the starting lineup this season. But expect the Irish to try and address Vanderdoes’ loss in the upcoming recruiting class, putting an added emphasis on the interior of the defensive line.

  1. dillonbigred - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    A concern I have with the losses is depth. How many scholarship players are we down to? They have lost 4 or 5 I believe. While Kiel or EV wouldn’t have played special teams, there is a domino effect as players have to be moved. I was excited about improved special teams players and the opening up of the return game. The Irish were lucky the lack of a return game didn’t cost them one of the close games last year. Last year Kelly said lack of depth limited the return game. Am I concerned over nothing?

    • stedward - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      My concern is the lack of a true NG to replace Nix. Need to land one this year or the middle of the line will be a problem in the future.

  2. ajw21 - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Golson is planning on going to a CC next year and back to ND. That could always change and other schools can try & recruit him but Julies Jones did the same thing so its not unprecedented but I always thought Golson coming back was 50/50 so we will see.
    Go Irish!

  3. cpfirish - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Hey let’s all face it! Golson is GONE! Our man now is Zaire! Hands down no and’s if’s or but’s about. He has to step up this year which people are saying he going really good with the play book! The athletic ability is there, it’s just that dam confusing play book of Kelly’s. Go Irish.

    • c4evr - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      You mean the confusing vanilla play book BK’s been using the past few years?

    • wisner74 - Jun 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      We are all hoping Zaire develops quickly and becomes the man. But we all better also be hoping that Golson does come back. Because if he doesn’t, in 2014 not only will Zaire be the man, he’s likely to be the ONLY man (along with a couple of freshman recruits). That is unless Hendrix can be persuaded to delay med school for a year.

      I think it will be interesting to see if Hendrix can finally turn the corner this season. If he does, maybe he gets to play meaningful minutes, even start, and then the chances of him coming back in ’14 are improved, I would think. If he doesn’t, why would he want to come back in ’14?

      • bernhtp - Jun 5, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        What will persuade Hendrix to return for a fifth is significant playing time this year and a realistic hope for more next year. He won’t delay his medical career to work hard and ride the pine.

        Thus, my continued belief is that Hendrix will get a fair shot at the starting position and will at least get significant backup time unless he proves he can’t do the job.

        While Kelly needs a compelling reason to take off Zaire’s redshirt – winning the starting job, being significantly ahead of the #3 as backup, or injury – the reason for playing Hendrix are more subtle.

        If Hendrix doesn’t play in the first few games (especially if Zaire does) it’s pretty obvious that Kelly doesn’t have material use for him and Hendrix will go on to med school. However, if Kelly thought that Hendrix and Rees would be exactly equal in game performance (the outcome would be the same with either one playing), Kelly would rationally start Hendrix because of the next-year dynamic. This is the advantage Hendrix has this year. It’s now up to him to show that he’s capable.

        If Zaire gets the starting job, especially if he does well, the probability of Golson returning are significantly lowered. If Hendrix starts and does very well, it will affect Golson but nothing like Zaire. If Tommy starts and the team goes 7-5, an paramilitary unit of the Knights of Columbus will be dispatched to fetch Golson and return him to Notre Dame.

  4. pacific123ocean - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Good luck at UCLA!

  5. c4evr - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Keep in mind, this is all part of the same thing that killed the NFL… free agency. Once the power swung back to the players’ sides, the game was changed forever. It became about the individual. And now, a few decades later, we have kids with overinflated egos coming out of high school (remember Clausen’s limo ride) that think they are above the game. And it’s not getting any better when Kiffin/USC offers a 13 yr old a scholarship in 2009. No, it’s entitlement, pure and simple, that ruins these kids before they ever set foot on the field. That’s why T’eo was a refreshing reminder of times gone by.

    • papadec - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      c4 – I would heap a large part of the blame on the lawyers/agents that are pushing for college athletes to get paid while in college.

      • c4evr - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        Ah, the origin of the sin… those who actually profited from the movement. Agreed.

    • runners00 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      I have no problem with “shifting” some of the power to the players. It’s already happened. These kids — they’re worshipped by college coaches, recruiters and etc. for months or years before they’re signed. The Minnesota kid — Tyus Jones — is a perfect example of what has happened to college basketball. Everyone wants him. He is an incredible athlete but he’s never played a second of big-time college basketball. The same is true with this kid Vanderdoes.

      As for the national letter of intent process, like other Domers I like Kelly’s approach. We don’t want you here if you don’t want to be here. But you can sit out a year and in 2014 you can play at UCLA. That seems fine.

      As for T’eo: he was recruited heavily coming out of high school just like this kid was. But T’eo understood the need to have some respect for the game and the athletes who play it each week.

  6. 10of14 - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Relax. He never played a down of college football so his star rating is still VERY subjective. He isn’t exactly in High School football nirvana in Grass Valley folks. He is big and strong but never faced the same. His girlfriend is going to UCLA. I would rather lose him now rather than later which was bound to happen. Many 3 star athletes end their careers as 5 star studs. This 5 star stud could end up a 3 star dud. He is at UCLA for goodness sake…they are a basketball school who can’t even get that right anymore. Let’s move on…we are ND and we have plenty to step up and take his place…BTW, he has a bit of sissy boy in him from the interviews I saw…we will be fine without this nancy.

  7. steeldominance - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    I know its 3 days old. But eat a d**k Vanderdoes.

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