LOS ANGELES (AP) – Blue chip recruit Eddie Vanderdoes is eligible to play for UCLA this season after winning an NCAA appeal over his initial commitment to Notre Dame.
Vanderdoes signed a national letter of intent with the Fighting Irish in February, but decided in June he wanted to stay closer to home because of an ailing family member. The elite defensive line prospect is from Auburn, 35 miles northeast of Sacramento.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly declined to release the highly rated defensive tackle from his NLI, which meant that while Vanderdoes could attend UCLA this year, he could not play until 2014, and would have only four years to play three seasons.
After winning his appeal, Vanderdoes will have the standard five years to play four seasons.
“We’re pleased with the decision made by the committee and are excited to see Eddie on the field with the Bruins this season,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said.
Kelly said in a statement Wednesday he disagrees with the ruling, but respects the appeals process.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Vanderdoes could be an immediate contributor to the Bruins, perhaps contending for a starting spot at left defensive end when UCLA opens training camp in San Bernardino next week. Star lineman Datone Jones was a first-round pick by the Green Bay Packers, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa might not be ready to play after undergoing hip surgery in the spring.
UCLA has won the last two Pac-12 South championships, and was picked as the favorite for a third title in a preseason media poll.
Vanderdoes verbally committed to Southern California last year before re-opening his recruitment process.