Eddie Vanderdoes sent via text message Tuesday afternoon that he will soon clear the air about his football future.
Speculation has run rampant of late that the national football recruit All-American defensive end from Placer High School would not head to Notre Dame, the program Vanderdoes signed with in February.
Reports ranged from character to academic concerns to a change of heart for Vanderdoes. Coaches in the last week insisted the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Vanderdoes known for his athletic ability and good nature is fine academically, and they insisted that character has never been a concern.
Texted Vanderdoes, "I will be coming out with a statement soon regarding my situation as speculation keeps moving further and further from anything resembling the truth in this."
Notre Dame officials have not commented about Vanderdoes.
Coach Brian Kelly did tell reporters Tuesday, "It's just like all of our guys. We expect all of our guys (to be here) in June, but until they're here, you know my policy has been pretty standard on that one. I don't get too much involved in who's not here. None of those freshmen are here yet. We'll see who shows up. There's always a surprise or two. We hope they're all here when they're asked to report in June."
Why is this such a big deal? It's college football, and college football tidbits linked to nationally renowned programs generates interest. Vanderdoes is a top recruit, a game changer, and Notre Dame is as storied as it gets. ESPN college football programs led off last week about this topic. National media outlets have speculated about the impact of Vanderdoes suiting up for Notre Dame, or not.
Social media - Twitter and Facebook in particular - generated an avalanche of reaction from Notre Dame fans and general football fans. Some lashed out at Vanderdoes, insulted that there was even a hint of him not joining the Irish. Some went as far as posting racial taunts on Facebook and Twitter.
Other fans were willing to take him into their school, the Pac-12, the SEC, and the heck with the Irish, the sentiment went. To a good many, Vanderdoes is just a big body in a jersey with a number and nothing more.
It's important to understand that there's a real human side to this saga that may soon come out.
My sense in talking to the family in the last week and having had many lengthy chats in the last two seasons with Vanderdoes and his family, on and off the record, is that this situation is in fact much deeper than a simple change of heart. A family decision at play here because it's a very close-knit family.
Vanderdoes said on signing day that "this is a lifetime decision." It still is. There are many layers to this that I expect to report to some degree when the family is ready to talk about it.
If Vanderdoes does get a release from his letter of intent and attends another school, he may have to redshirt a season. We will keep you posted.
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
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