July 30, 2013
Vanderdoes cleared to play football at UCLA

By Joe Davidson

Eddie Vanderdoes has been cleared to compete for UCLA this coming football season, The Bee has learned.

It became official after an appeal hearing with the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee on Monday, with the official word coming today.

A national recruit and five-star defensive lineman from Placer High School in Auburn, Vanderdoes signed a letter of intent with Notre Dame in February. But within a short period, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound standout known for his power and burst explored the possibility of getting out of the commitment.

Among his reasoning was to be in his home state, closer to family, which includes an ailing grandmother. Efforts to reach the family have not been successful.

We will go into more detail for Vanderdoes' desire to be released from his Notre Dame commitment upon talking to the Vanderdoes family. Notre Dame did not want to release Vanderdoes in an effort to uphold the integrity of the letter of intent, which kicked off a firestorm of discussion across the country. Is this part of a growing precedent of athletes changing their minds despite binding contracts? And now this: Are there deeper reasons for why the Letter of Intent Steering Committee released Vanderdoes beyond family?

This much we do know: The Vanderdoes-Notre Dame union got off to a ominous start. Vanderdoes and his family made it abundantly clear with Notre Dame coaches that they did not want his name released with other Irish signees in the early morning hours on National Signing Day. Vanderdoes wanted to make his announcement on campus later in the afternoon in a signing ceremony that included three classmates and scores of family, friends, teachers and members of the community.

Notre Dame released his name anyway, which quickly hit the national media feeds, and effectively blowing the Vanderdoes cover. Notre Dame then backtracked by suggesting it was a clerical error.

Had Vanderdoes not been cleared, he would have lost a year of eligibility.

UCLA reports to training camp in San Bernardino on Aug. 4.

- By Joe Davidson

- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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