Vanderdoes jilts Notre Dame for UCLA

Eddie Vanderdoes, the nation's top-rated defensive tackle recruit in 2012-13, has changed his mind and will attend UCLA instead of Notre Dame, despite signing a letter of intent with the Fighting Irish in February.

Vanderdoes, the No. 10 overall recruit on the ESPN 150, will have to sit out this season and lose a year of eligibility because Notre Dame has refused to release him from his letter of intent.

From the article:

Several coaches across the country have reached out to Notre Dame and also Florida State coaching staffs to ask they not release high-profile incoming freshmen from their NLIs.

These coaches feared that a precedent could be set forcing staffs to continue to recruit incoming freshmen after they already signed. Florida State incoming freshman linebacker Matthew Thomas similarly has sought a release from his scholarship.

That actually makes sense. A national letter of intent functions as a binding, one-year contract.

But this is also why elite prospects, such as Vanderdoes, should consider the option of merely signing scholarship papers on national signing day. That allows for a last-minute change of heart with no penalty.

Of course, most prospects can't be so bold. Scholarship spots fill up, and coaches might not want to play ball with a prospect who might back out on them.

But, from what I hear about Vanderdoes, he could right now go anywhere he wants. And now he's going UCLA.

The Bruins have some questions -- mostly based on injuries -- on their defensive line this fall, but starting NT Seali'i Epenesa is a senior, so Vanderdoes could step in and start in 2014. All three projected Bruins' D-line starters, in fact, are seniors.