California recruit who spurned Notre Dame gains immediate eligibility
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media July 31, 2013 9:01PM
Updated: September 3, 2013 7:13AM
Eddie Vanderdoes will be able to play football this fall for UCLA, thanks to a successful appeal this week.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly isn’t crazy about the ruling.
“While I disagree with [the] decision by the NCAA National Letter of Intent Appeals Committee to reverse its original ruling and grant Eddie Vanderdoes a complete release from his NLI, I understand and respect the entire appeal process,” Kelly said in a statement released Wednesday.
“However, this result does not change my opinion concerning the importance of protecting the integrity of the NLI program, nor will it change our approach to the process going forward.”
The five-star recruit signed a letter of intent with the Irish in February. In June, he decided to attend UCLA.
“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,” Vanderdoes wrote in a text to the Sacramento Bee at the time.
“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.”
The Irish did not release him from his national letter of intent, which meant the 6-3, 310-pounder from Auburn, Calif., would have had to sit out this season and would have had four years to play three seasons.
“We did not release him from his national letter of intent in order to protect the integrity of that very important program,” Kelly said in a statement in June. “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 appealed, and was cleared to play this season late Tuesday.
He is ranked No. 2 nationally among defensive tackles and No. 21 overall for the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com.