I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for lifting the recruiting ban and allowing me to sign an Athletic Scholarship with UCLA.
Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family. For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and near those who are most important in my life.
I am honored and humbled that the University of Notre Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship. They have been very gracious to recognize not only how difficult a decision this was, but also how important it was for me to be near family at this time. I take my commitments seriously, but as circumstances changed, the most important commitment is the one made to family.
It is important to note that Vanderdoes was not released from his letter of intent. He will be able to practice and will have his education paid for by UCLA, but he will not play in any games in the 2013 season, unless Notre Dame releases him from the LOI.
Vanderdoes, as it stands right now, will have four years to play three. You can count on this defensive tackle playing all three years.
UCLA plays a 3-4 with Ellis McCarthy as the projected starter at nose tackle. Assuming Vanderdoes sits out this year, he would be competing against McCarthy for the starting tackle spot next year.
Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos has a wealth of talent on the line, including senior defensive ends Cassius Marsh, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and true freshman Kylie Fitts. The line has had some injury issues and will miss end Datone Jones, who was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Vanderdoes didn't transfer to UCLA to be a reserve behind McCarthy for two years. He is the guy a coach builds a defense around.
Would Spanos adjust his defensive scheme to a 4-3 if Vanderdoes was released from his LOI? It might be a smart move.
The Bruins' defense struggled with outside containment during spring camp. Adding an extra tackle would support McCarthy on the interior and allow the ends to be in better position to seal off the edges.
If everyone is healthy and Notre Dame releases Vanderdoes from his LOI, the Bruins' rush defense could be one of the best in the Pac-12 this fall.
UCLA is making a statement with its recruiting. Fitts and Vanderdoes were former USC commits from the class of 2013. Receiver Eldridge Massington was as well. UCLA is not only flipping prospects from its rival school, it is doing it from across the country. The Bruins' class of 2013 should rise from No. 9 to a top-five ranking.
UCLA beat USC last season and was the Pac-12 South champion. Bruin head coach Jim Mora is on a roll. USC head coach Lane Kiffin is on the hot seat.
Dare we say It?
UCLA football is back.