Eddie Vanderdoes opts for UCLA instead of Notre Dame; Irish don't plan to grant release

Eddie Vanderdoes opts for UCLA instead of Notre Dame; Irish don't plan to grant release

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ddie Vanderdoes has made it official.

vanderdoesVanderdoes, a 5-star defensive lineman from Placer High in Auburn, Calif., signed with Notre Dame in February, announced that he will attend UCLA instead, ending weeks of speculation.

“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,” he said in a statement on Tuesday through 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.”

UCLA coach Jim Mora tweeted moments later welcoming Vanderdoes to the Bruins family.

A Notre Dame spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that the school will not release Vanderdoes from his Letter of Intent.

That means Vanderdoes would be forced to sit out the 2013 season, and his situation would be treated similar to a transfer. He can use the season as a redshirt and would have four years to play four beginning in 2014.

Much like Florida State signee Matthew Thomas, who now wants to go to either USC or Georgia, there is an appeals process Vanderdoes can seek. He would need to convince the appeals committee that he has a compelling reason to be released from his LOI, which seems unlikely.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Vanderdoes was one of the most dominant prospects in the 2013 recruiting class. Rivals.com rated him the nation’s No. 21 recruit overall and the No. 2 defensive tackle, but with his quickness and burst off the ball, he was expected to get first look at defensive end.

Vanderdoes committed to USC early in the process, but changed his mind and reopened his recruitment in late December. He took official visits to USC, Notre Dame and Alabama on the final three recruiting weekends before choosing the Irish on Signing Day.

The recruit’s father, Eddie Vanderdoes III, told the Bee that his son originally asked out of his Letter of Intent in March, and the family hopes releasing the statement will end the rampant rumor and speculation.

“This statement at least cools things off and answers the main question of where he’s going, and it let’s him hopefully finish his senior year in peace with graduation on Saturday.”

Photo: Sacramento Bee

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