2013 UCLA Football Fall Practice: Priest Cleared, Vanderdoes Notes and San Berdoo Day 2 Comments

In the end, the Bruins got their man - USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins have finished their second day of Fall Practices at Cal State San Bernardino. Priest Willis heard from the NCAA this afternoon, and more thoughts on Eddie Vanderdoes' comments to the media from last night.

The second day of Bruin football practice at San Bernardino is finished. Like yesterday, our more extensive notes on this session will be up tomorrow morning. But until then, we have Coach Mora's comments on today's action, as well as a couple of things from yesterday that I would like to touch on a bit more.

This has already been shared in comments and a fanshot (HT to mexeastla), but Owamagbe Odighizuwa will miss the upcoming season as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. It is too bad that he won't be able to play this fall, but it is for the best for everybody that he be healthy going in to his final collegiate season. He will be eligible to use 2013 as his redshirt year, leaving 2014 as his final year of eligibility.

In this morning's pracitce notes, Nestor linked a couple of Wednesday post-practice interview videos (via Jack Wang/Daily News) with Eddie Vanderdoes, Priest Willis and Ashanti Woulard. They are all good listens, and I know through the comments this morning that many of you have already gone through them, but I thought that Eddie's comments about his dealings with Notre Dame and the NCAA were worth a more dedicated treatment.

During this post-practice talk, Eddie was of course asked about his decision to seek release from his LOI with Notre Dame, and what happened during that process.

The main reason that has been speculated for Eddie's decision was a serious health issue for a member of his family - Eddie did confirm that his Grandmother has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and cannot travel great distances. But that was only one of four specific reasons for him to seek release from Notre Dame, with critical issues cropping up just one week after LOI day. After a few weeks of trying to resolve those issues, he made the decision to decomit.

The freshman insists that the reasons were valid, and he initially expected to be released from his national letter of intent. He added that the Notre Dame staff was helpful in helping him with the transfer process — except for one coach.

When asked if that one coach was Brian Kelly, Eddie responded: "No Comment". At least someone involved in this case has class.

Another note from his press availability, talking about his final appeal to the NCAA (not the LOI commmittee, per Eddie) which allowed him to present a personal, verbal case to the people deciding his fate rather than the appeal form required earlier in the appellate process.

"I was real surprised," Vanderdoes said. "They actually had called me an hour after, talked to me and told me they would have a full decision tomorrow. They basically had a decision but they kind of wanted to cover their bases the next day."

..."I knew that once I got to the point where I could talk to them on the phone, it was going to be fine," he said. "That was the confidence that I had."

Despite the whining of certain (but not all) members of the Notre Dame community and sports media and the other personal attacks aimed at Eddie and his decision not to go to South Bend, the typically slow-moving bureaucracy of the NCAA decided that Eddie's four reasons were valid and supportive of his decommitment within one hour of talking with him.

It looks like summer school pays off! Priest Willis was a late arrival in Westwood this summer, reaching campus just before the team left for SEAL training after spending a few weeks making up a high school class that may or may not have been acceptable for the NCAA. Just before the team took the practice field this afternoon, he received his final academic clearance to play this fall from the NCAA.

Here are Coach Mora's comments after this afternoon's practice session:

A couple of quick notes per Jack Wang and BRO's non-restricted after practice post:

  • Eric Kendricks and John Lopez are working through some minor ankle issues.
  • As IE Angel also noticed this afternoon, Randall Goforth was not at practice. Mora told the media that he remained in his dorm room. Per the LA Times, he slept through a team meeting.
  • After two practices, Priest Willis is already impressing Mora: "Priest Willis stands out. He absolutely positively can play corner at this level. He has the quickness, he has the burst, he'd got the length. Johnny Johnson, Tahaan Goodman, those three young defensive backs are standing out to me."

If you were out there at practice today this is your thread to share your notes.

Go Bruins!

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