Vanderdoes Having Second Thoughts? Let the Speculation Begin

Well, this is definitely one post that I did not want to write. Not just because the rumors of potentially losing five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, but also watching my neighbors to the north get devastated by a tornado. Forgive the quick aside, but I couldn’t possibly write this in good conscience without mentioning this. If you are able, the Red Cross is a great way to send aid as is donating blood — there are loads of people that will need the help.

Now, with that all being said (and hopefully a bit of perspective given), let’s dig into the latest with Eddie Vanderdoes.

Most of what we have are loads of rumors and nothing concrete. Here’s is a list of everything that flew around most websites today in discussion of said rumors:

  • Major academic issues that would keep Vanderdoes from enrolling
  • Minor academic issue that would be settled
  • ND admissions dropped the ball
  • Vanderdoes had a change of heart
  • Vanderdoes had a strained relationship with the coaching staff
  • There have been issues for months that have yet to be settled
  • Vanderdoes expected to try and go to UCLA

All of the above possibilities came from just about all corners of the internet. Pick your favorite ND message board, recruiting site, or Twitter and you’ll find all of them mentioned there.

The only thing that is for certain is that no one seems to want to make any declarative statement one way or the other right now. Everyone, even those media members that are rather well connected, are waiting for Vanderdoes to break his silence and clear the air.

The only other thing that we know for certain is that, if Vanderdoes doesn’t go to ND, he finds himself in quite the bind. He has already signed his Letter of Intent and that is a binding contract for one year. Notre Dame would have to grant Eddie a release from this contract in order for him to attend another school. Otherwise, he will have to sit out for a year.

Notre Dame now finds themselves in a similar situation as Florida State, who are having some five-star issues of their own right now. Granting a release from a LOI simply because a student athlete changes their mind appears to be a rather dangerous precedent. We are already in an era in which a “commitment” can mean very little and if that extends to LOIs, signing day itself becomes rather meaningless as well.

And, with words I never thought I’d type, I”m definitely of the same mindset of Florida State in this matter. You can’t tear up LOIs based on what amounts to buyer’s remorse.

To add another layer to this story, late last night, Joe Davidson of the SacBee, and the man that emceed Vanderdoes’ signing day ceremony, took to Twitter to give his take as well as statements from the family and Eddie’s coaches.

This was really the first bit of information that came directly from anyone in the Vanderdoes camp, but then Davidson followed up with this tweet taking everything in a completely different direction:

It is quite strange to me that, of all things, Davidson decided to toss that post and ND gaffe back out into the spotlight as all eyes turn to him as a reliable source on this issue. Soon after, Davidson released his post on the matter and yet again, the signing day issue makes a prominent appearance:

Still, there was a snag with Notre Dame seemingly from the start with how the school handled his scholarship commitment. The Vanderdoes family made it clear that they wanted Notre Dame to keep his decision mum to the media so he could enjoy a letter-of-intent signing ceremony later in the afternoon with several classmates who also signed scholarship deals. Most announcements are made early in the morning as colleges prefer to have signed letters as soon as they’re allowed by the NCAA to receive them.

Notre Dame blew that seemingly simple request when Vanderdoes’ name was in fact listed on the morning letter-of-intent announcement released to the media. His name was immediately taken off the sheet, but the secret was already out and hit the national feeds right away.

It seems rather strange that a good portion of Davidson’s post is devoted to what we all thought ended up being a non-issue. Egg on our face for sure, but supposedly a non-issue.

Even stranger, the signing day “issues” followed this rather interesting quote:

As for grades, [Eddie’s coach, Joey] Montoya[,] said Vanderdoes is fine academically, “for Placer and the NCAA, he is for sure.”

What about Notre Dame? Was there some misunderstanding of academic expectations by either party somewhere along the line that caused a snag? The omission appears glaring and definitely seems to be something that Montoya would have added in defense of his star player.

There definitely appears to be quite a bit to the story and it also appears that the Vanderdoes family is using Davidson as something of PR in this situation. Earlier in the post, Eddie’s father stated:

He added in the text, “let people speculate, but you will be the first to know, as always, when it’s time to let people know.”

And later on Twitter, Davidson also had this to add in response to an Irish fan:

Throughout the night he also made sure to tweet his article to many different media entities as well. Again, it all looked more like PR than anything else.

And honestly, I don’t really know if I can blame anyone for adopting that strategy at this point. Smoke appeared this morning and turned into a raging fire. That fire had to be put out and certain rumors needed to be put to rest. After all, if I’m Eddie’s father, and I know he’s a good kid and see nothing wrong with his grades, you bet your ass I’m texting the reporter I trust the most to get my side of the story out there. After all, Eddie has a future at stake here.

Despite that, I am still a bit soured by the repeated mention of Eddie’s name being leaked early by ND. It’s almost like the genesis of a narrative is forming: Eddie already had trust broken by ND with the leak, ND failed to repair it, and then the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back fell in place. I’m hoping that it this is simply a preemptive step in case things go sour; however, considering how I’m used to the other shoe dropping, I’m definitely ready to find out this is the groundwork for a nasty breakup.

Either way, no matter how the dominoes fall, I definitely hope all ND fans can do four things:

  1. Leave Eddie alone on Twitter.
  2. Seriously, leave Eddie alone on Twitter.
  3. Remember that very little of what we hear, until it is direct from Eddie, his family, or ND, will be actual facts (yes, that includes most of what I wrote in here as well).
  4. Losing Eddie would sting, but remember, we still have a badass class (and more five-stars) in this recruiting class.

I still remain hopeful that whatever has happened between Vanderdoes and Notre Dame can be reconciled, but I would be lying if I said I was completely optimistic about the situation. Signs thus far all seem to be pointing to bad news for Irish fans.

Here’s hoping I’m dead wrong.

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  • Brent Nowostawski

    Thanks for the story NDTex. I first heard rumor last night and was shocked , of course. Now that I’ve slept on it, I will wait until actual facts are released and we hear from Eddie or the Vanderdoes family. If these rumors are anywhere near true,everything will be just fine. It seems very trivial to me also,but maybe not to Eddie. If he feels in the back of his mind that he was let down by ND , he won’t be 100% all in. If not then its better for everyone involved for Eddie to make a decision that will make him comfortable and able to be 100% and move on , whether its ND , UCLA or elsewhere.We have no right to be pissed at him and I’m not. If this is how he feels,I’m disappointed. But this is Eddie’s life and he has the right to make decisions that effect his life. If this happened and if this is the reason for a change of heart,it happened after he chose ND. So its not just a frivolous change of mind. Don’t be selfish Irish fans,we’ll be just fine if Eddie chooses to leave. Obviously lets hope not, but…..

    • NDtex

      While normally I’d be all for “let him go”, the difference here is that EV signed a LOI which is world’s different than going back on a verbal.

      I don’t want ND to set a precedent for releasing kids from their LOIs simply for changing their minds. Now, if there are some other reasons at play, I’m perfectly fine with that, but such facts haven’t come to light yet.

      I’m fine with him leaving, but he needs to honor the LOI for a year and sit out the whole year if he simply wants to play elsewhere. The LOI needs to mean something or Pandora’s box has flown open for us.

  • KyNDfan

    I wonder how much influence the other kids in this signing class have in a situation like this. A lot of these guys build relationships during the recruiting process. I wonder if any of the other incoming freshman are calling him.

    • NDtex

      As close-knit as this group appears to be, I’m sure they’ve reached out to EV. I’m also sure it is a delicate game they have to play to not be overbearing on him as well.

  • trey

    Come on mob, bring this guy back pleeeeze!

  • http://ndnation TK

    I find this hard to believe. Four months after the fact and all of the sudden “how Notre Dame handled signing day” is bothering Vanderdoes. Something smells here. I’m sorry……..I don’t buy it. Sounds like an excuse to me. Hope he stays but this seems a little fishy to me.

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