Notre Dame football: Status unclear for blue chipper Vanderdoes
Eddie Vanderdoes (Paul Kitagaki Jr. / firstname.lastname@example.org / November 12, 2012)
And seemingly the only two people not talking about it in the college football cyber-world were the two who could bring actual substance to the discussion -- Irish fourth-year head coach Brian Kelly and Vanderdoes himself.
Sources close to the situation only added to the gray areas, offering a multitude of reasons for a possible 11th-hour defection as well as a wide variety of possible outcomes.
However, Sacramento Bee reporter Joe Davidson, who covered Vanderdoes in high school and throughout his recruiting process, posted the following on his Twitter account Monday night: "I did get this from Vanderdoes family: Grades, eligibility or conduct/character 'is not and has never been an issue.'"
The only absolute is that if Vanderdoes does drop out of the class, he will be missed, perhaps in coming seasons more than 2013.
The 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman from Placer High School in Auburn, Calif., figured to push his way into the two-deeps this fall, likely at defensive end, though he has the versatility to play inside as well.
Rivals.com had ranked him as the No. 21 prospect overall regardless of position, and 247Sports had him sixth overall in the 2013 class, and he has done nothing before or since to shake those lofty expectations.
Should Vanderdoes defect -- and UCLA is the reported targeted alternative -- it would take away what figures to be a cornerstone on the defensive line in 2014.
Junior end Stephon Tuitt and senior nose guard Louis Nix, the latter of whom retains a fifth-year option, are both projected as first-round NFL draft choices in 2014 and likely wouldn't play out their college eligibility.
The next two nose guards on the depth chart -- senior Kona Schwenke and fifth-year senior Tyler Stockton are gone after this season.
Of the remaining D-line options, projected starting sophomore defensive end Sheldon Day and junior backup Tony Springmann are the only two healthy defensive linemen who have recorded at least one tackle in their college careers.
Junior Chase Hounshell, whose most recent game action came during the 2011 season, will miss all of 2013 with his third shoulder surgery in less than two years after sitting out 2012 with the same issues.
Senior end Justin Utupo has yet to see any significant action in his career. Sophomore end Jarron Jones redshirted last season.
Among the other incoming freshmen, both Isaac Rochell (6-5, 260) and Jacob Matuska (6-5, 240) are not projected as college-ready prospects and need some time to develop. The Irish have two defensive line commits in their 2014 class so far -- Jay Hayes (6-5, 270) of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Andrew Trumbetti (6-5, 247) of Demarest, N.J.
A possible solution might be to consider moving either junior Ishaq Williams or classmate Ben Councell from the deep outside linebacker ranks to end. Williams already split time between the two positions in the spring and excelled at it.
Then again, Vanderdoes may start summer school on June 17 with all but the early enrollees in his class.
The prep All-American signed with Notre Dame late on national signing day, Feb. 6, after a change of heart. He was originally committed to USC.