The luck of the Irish! Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The big news coming out today was the announcement that Eddie Vanderdoes would enroll at UCLA.
This was a foregone conclusion a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s official: The five-star defensive tackle will leave South Bend and become a Bruin. From ESPN:
"Incoming Notre Dame freshman defensive lineman and five-star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes will enroll at UCLA instead, he said in a statement Tuesday.[…]“Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family, Vanderdoes said in the statement. “For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and near those who are most important in my life.”"
In essence, this sounds like a move to stay closer to home rather than a skeevy attempt to get back at Notre Dame for ruining his announcement on National Signing Day (as some USC fans have intimated). After all, Vanderdoes is a California native, and South Bend, IN, is quite far from the Left Coast.
The other important piece of news that accompanies this, though, is Notre Dame’s refusal to release Vanderdoes from his national letter of intent:
"Vanderdoes’ father, also Eddie, said Notre Dame did not release Vanderdoes from his binding national letter of intent.Because of this, Vanderdoes’ father said his son will be penalized one year of playing eligibility. He can take a scholarship and practice this season, but he must redshirt and will be eligible to play only three years of college football in a four-year period."
Actually, Vanderdoes won’t redshirt—he just won’t be eligible, and he’ll lose that year, meaning his desire to stay close to home was important enough for him to sacrifice a year of playing time.
Some UCLA fans might interpret this as bitterness, but from the Notre Dame point of view, their decision would set precedence nation-wide as it pertains to recruiting and letters of intent. Indeed, had Notre Dame released him from his LOI, it would imply that recruits aren’t committed until they’re actually enrolled at the school, a dangerous implication given the current landscape of college football recruiting.
Vanderdoes’ career is off to a highly-publicized and, quite frankly, controversial start but the kid is a stud and any UCLA fan would be happy to have him.