Someone stop him! (Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports)
UCLA's defensive line is getting a massive boost on the eve of fall camp. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, blue-chip recruit and one-time Notre Dame signee Eddie Vanderdoes has received clearance to play for the Bruins this year.
According to the report, the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee approved Vanderdoes' appeal for an exemption from the rule requiring recruits who break their pledges to sit out for a year. Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly had drawn fire in some circles for refusing to let Vanderdoes out of his LOI, which would have enabled the five-star defensive lineman to play immediately for the Bruins and sidestep the appeal. Kelly claimed his intent was to protect the integrity of the LOI as an official end to the recruiting process.
Meanwhile, Vanderdoes' alleged motivation for wanting out of South Bend, being closer to home because of an ailing family member, generated plenty of healthy skepticism, too.
Whether or not there's any merit to Vanderdoes' position, this Kabuki show of an appeal is a crude mechanism for achieving any kind of resolution. Situations like those of Vanderdoes and highly touted linebacker Matthew Thomas at Florida State should serve as a lesson to elite recruits in the future: The LOI has no value for upper-echelon players. If you're good enough, a coach will always save room for you on his roster.