Five-star defensive tackle prospect Eddie Vanderdoes is joining the UCLA Bruins. UCLA head coach Jim Mora confirmed Vanderdoes’ arrival via Twitter on Tuesday morning.
— Jim Mora (@UCLACoachMora) June 4, 2013
Vanderdoes, an Army All-American from Auburn (Calif.) Placer, had a tumultuous recruitment. UCLA was always in the mix, though Rivals.com’s No. 21 overall ranked prospect initially pledged his verbal commitment to the Bruins’ crosstown rival USC Trojans.
Vanderdoes backed out of his verbal pledge last winter, opting instead of USC rival Notre Dame. His commitment gave Brian Kelly one of the nation’s best recruiting classes. However, 247Sports.com reported academic issues lingered for Vanderdoes, which reopened his recruitment.
Before adding Vanderdoes, Mora already welcomed the nation’s No. 8 ranked recruiting class. The Bruins have a haul 3.67 stars. Included among that group is four-star defensive tackle Kenneth Clark.
Vanderdoes faces a similar situation as Florida State Seminoles commit Matthew Thomas, however. Per Brian Hamilton of The Chicago Tribune, Notre Dame does not intend to release Vanderdoes.
#NotreDame spokesman says school will not release Eddie Vanderdoes from letter of intent. School will have comment today.
— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) June 4, 2013
As a result, Vanderdoes would need to request a formal transfer, thereby requiring he sit out for the 2013 season.
Three different commitments in a few months might be cause for concern, but this may not be a case of youthful indecision. The academic barriers obviously present a challenge. Moreover, the Bruins have always been factors in this equation. Per SBNation.com, Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee tweeted that UCLA was prominently on Vanderdoes’ radar.
Vanderdoes really liked UCLA. The Notre Dame appeal is powerful. Something is brewing but not exactly sure. High character kid he is
— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) May 21, 2013
No matter the circumstances, the addition of Eddie Vanderdoes is tremendous for the UCLA defense. It also adds fire to the Crosstown Showdown, as the Trojans will face a player affiliated at one with them, but ultimately with their two chief rivals.