Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, who reneged on his commitment to Notre Dame and instead announced his intention to enroll at UCLA in June, will have an appeal hearing with the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee on Monday, July 29, coach Jim Mora announced Friday.
Vanderdoes, who attended Placer High School in Auburn, Calif., claims his decision to de-commit from Notre Dame stemmed from a need to be closer to home, citing personal reasons. NCAA rules do not require schools to release student-athletes from their NLIs upon de-commitment.
Notre Dame elected not to do so, and an unsuccessful appeal Monday would mean that Vanderdoes would be ineligible to play for UCLA this season, leaving him with three remaining years of NCAA eligibility.
On the other side of the ball, running back Craig Lee of Redlands, Calif., was declared eligible to play for UCLA this season on Tuesday. After initially being unable to sign with UCLA several months ago because of low SAT scores, Lee improved his ACT scores and grades in the latter half of his senior year in high school, deeming him eligible as per the NCAA.
The incoming freshman, who had over 1,700 rushing yards last fall, will join a UCLA running back “by committee” system that will also include rising senior Malcolm Jones, rising redshirt freshman Paul Perkins, rising redshirt junior Jordon James and rising redshirt sophomore Steven Manfro.
“If he proves to be one of the players that we can count on to be productive, then, yes, he can,” said Mora Friday when asked about how Lee figures into the running back rotation this fall. “I think that successful teams, unless you’re the Minnesota Vikings and you have Adrian Peterson, (in) this day and age it’s about ‘by committee.’”