Could Potential Vanderdoes Departure of Notre Dame Give Florida State ‘Precedence’ on Thomas?


Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

In yet another twist in the 2013 recruiting class, word has come out that Eddie Vanderdoes might not end up playing for Notre Dame, as reported by the Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson.

Vanderdoes signed with the Irish on Signing Day, but according to Davidson, Note Dame’s listing of Vanderdoes on their media release of signees before his announcement didn’t go over well with the Vanderdoes family, and could be a source of frustration. Though, as Davidson is quick to point out, “[internet] speculation about Vanderdoes ranged from character concerns to an academic fall out”, which both the family and coaches close to the defensive lineman deny.

As of now, Vanderdoes’s future is up in the air, and the college football world will have to wait and see how it all plays out, which basically repeats the month of January.

The initial thought is that a Vanderdoes release would play right into the hand of Jim Mora and UCLA. The Bruins were runners-up for Vanderdoes, along with USC and Alabama, and injury concerns have mounted tremendously on defense in Westwood. Defensive end Datone Jones is now playing with the Green Bay Packers, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa has struggled with injuries this offseason, with conflicting reports about the severity.

Last week, the LA Times reported that the junior had a season-ending hip injury. Today, CBS Sports is reporting that Mora says the injury isn’t that serious. Whether or not Odighizuwa is 100 percent healthy or not come August, the Bruins still have a need on the defensive line and Vanderdoes’s past interest in UCLA may link them to the Auburn, Calif. native.

However, the Vanderdoes case isn’t strictly confined to UCLA being an obvious suitor if Notre Dame isn’t the landing spot. The Trojans were very much in the mix going into February, and when it was last discussed, the relationship between he and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was good.

Yet, regardless of any degree of interest Vanderdoes has in USC, the Trojans will have a horse in the race, given the similarities to the ongoing drama with the Matthew Thomas story.

Thomas, a fellow five-star recruit, wants to play at USC or Georgia and is seeking a release from Florida State, who have held firm that they won’t release him in hopes of avoiding what they consider to be the setting of a precedence and the opening of Pandora’s box.

But if Vanderdoes officially looks for a release from Notre Dame, could the Irish beat Jimbo Fisher to the punch by granting it? Should Vanderdoes get released, Florida State’s hands could be severely tied with Thomas, perhaps coaxing them to release him.

It’s still far too early to see how any of this plays out, but could we actually be looking at an absolutely bizarre scenario in which USC could somehow benefit from Notre Dame allowing a player to walk and go to UCLA?