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Re. Eddie Vanderdoes: Mora Has UCLA Positioned at a Good Spot

Jim Mora’s gracious reaction to Eddie Vanderdoes decision from few months maybe one of the reasons for UCLA possibly being in a good spot should the 5 star defensive tackle decide to go somewhere else besides Notre Dame.

Doug Pensinger

We are having a lot of discussion and anticipation around the Bruin Nation about the future of all-world DT recruit Eddie Vanderdoes. I thought it was funny how the ESPN guys immediately wondered (almost wistfully) whether he is "back in the mix" for Southern Cal. Don't lol. Everyone wants to play for an awesome coach like Lane Kiffin (just like recruits are beating down their doors to sign up for Steve Alford).

There are some general points that are worth highlighting on the main page. Let's start with what AHMB mentioned in the comment thread yesterday, laying out the basic parameters around his NLI with Notre Dame and possible enrollment to UCLA:

Just in case anyone isn't aware, if Vanderdoes enrolls at UCLA, it doesn't mean he'll be immediately eligible. He still has to be released from his NLI.

If Notre Dame releases him (or if he appeals his release and wins), he is free to go to any school and will be eligible next year. Of course, if he's enrolled at UCLA when that happens, there wouldn't be much to worry about. If he's released before enrolling at UCLA, he'll be up for grabs for ANY school. Notre Dame cannot place restrictions on the release. It's all or nothing.

If Notre Dame does not release him, he could still transfer to any school, but he would have to pay his way next year and would not be eligible to play in the fall. He would also lose a year of eligibility, which unlike a transfer, cannot be used as a red shirt year, meaning that he could only play three seasons at his new school. He would have another year to red shirt at that point.

Vanderdoes could also do a year of JC or Prep School and not lose a year of eligibility, assuming he didn't play football at the JC.

Right now it's unclear where the process is WRT to Vanderdoes NLI and Notre Dame. I have not seen anything definitive from published reports in the traditional media outlets. Perhaps he has appealed to get out of the NLI (hey when there is so much smoke ... ). But right now I don't think it is all that worth it to get too worked up over all the speculation.

It does appear though that some Notre Dame-affiliated news outlets are already discussing "Plan B" for Irish at DL. SBN's One Foot Down blogged about the Irish planning to move on w/o Vanderdoes. Although note they later added an update about EVD's status being unclear. No one really knows anything for sure except for the primary parties involved (in this case EVD, his family, Notre Dame administrators and officials who may be in charge of administering the review of any NLI appeals process).

That said, I think one reason UCLA fans can feel good is how Mora handled the Vanderdoes decision from signing day. Take a listen to this podcast from from April 19 in which Mora talked to BRO's David Woods, Jon Gold and Tracy Pierson. The segment is public and not behind paid firewall (at least it isn't as I am writing this blogpost).

During that interview Mora was extremely gracious and frank about being heartbroken over losing Eddie Vanderdoes to Notre Dame (HT jwher). Mora talked about "a kid up North" who ended up going to a school in "Midwest." He talked about how he thought he would be "dynamite" player, saying he'd be a great addition to the program. He talked about how much he "loved" the kid and how much he loved his family, saying his "family was so cool." He mentioned his Mom and Dad and his sister. He used the word "heartbroken" about losing him [the discussion starts around the 34-minute mark].

The way Mora gushed about Eddie in that interview I am sure wasn't lost on Eddie and his family, who by all accounts were impressed by him during the interview process. I think it's a reasonable guess that kind of perspective will have UCLA in a good spot, if Vanderdoes indeed decides to go somewhere else besides South Bend. Mora has the Bruins in a good spot - at least when it comes to recruiting. Now it's a matter of following up with a big year this season.