So the Eddie Vanderdoes saga finally came to an end on Tuesday.
If you're asking yourself, "Who is Eddie Vanderdoes?" give yourself a gold star, because if you have no idea who Vanderdoes is, it means that you're not immersed in the borderline creepy minutiae and overzealous voyeurism of high school football recruiting. (I, like millions of others, partially by occupation and partially by mental illness, happen to be immersed in it, and, OY VEY, the degree of self-loathing it spawns!)
Vanderdoes is a 300-pound, five-star (recruiting speak for "ultra googily moogily kick-ass") defensive tackle from Placer, California, who in February committed to play college football for the University of Notre Dame.
The recruiting battle waged for Vanderdoes had many dramatic twists and turns. At one time a USC commitment, Vanderdoes wound up choosing Notre Dame over UCLA on signing day.
At least in February he did.
About a month or so ago, recruiting smoke began to billow once again from Placer and rumblings of a Vanderdoes decommitment began to rock message boards all across recruiting dork-ville. Vanderdoes himself wasn't speaking, but enough people were speaking on his behalf or had enough knowledge of the situation to cobble together the story:
Vanderdoes basically realized, "Holy shit, I'm from California, and I just committed to spend the next four years of my life in South Bend, Indiana...what have I done?"
Now, to be clear, while the South Bend Chamber of Commerce isn't about to launch any "Come vacation in the Bend!" television ads any time soon (although a "what happens in the Bend, stays in the Bend" campaign has major sophomoric giggling potential), in the century-plus that Notre Dame has fielded a football team, hundreds of players from warm-weather climates have come to South Bend to ply their football trade and done just fine. Thrived even.
But it's not for everybody. Vanderdoes realized that, and he decided to change his mind. After several weeks of wrangling (we think), both sides finally announced Tuesday that Vanderdoes will indeed pass on the chance to enroll at Notre Dame.
Vanderdoes himself alluded to specific changes in his personal situation, almost implying that something necessitated him staying close to home:
"I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for lifting the recruiting ban and allowing me to sign an athletic scholarship with UCLA," Vanderdoes told multiple media outlets. "Over the past four months, circumstances have changed for me and my family. For very personal reasons, I feel a strong need to remain close to home and be near those who are most important in my life.
"I am honored and humbled that Note Dame thought enough of me as a person and a football player to offer me a scholarship. They have been very gracious to recognize not only how difficult a decision this was, but also how important it was for me to be near my family at this time. I take my commitments seriously, but as circumstances changed, the most important commitment is the one made to family."
Now, while Vanderdoes makes it sound as if the "divorce" is final and he's free and clear to pursue his UCLA relationship unfettered, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made it clear that Vanderdoes may enroll elsewhere but the school is not releasing him from his national letter of intent:
"Eddie Vanderdoes will not be attending the University of Notre Dame," said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in a statement. "We did not release him from his national letter of intent in order to protect the integrity of that very important program, but we have worked with the Vanderdoes family so that Eddie can continue his education this fall at a school closer to his home. We understand Eddie's interest in remaining closer to his family and wish him well."
In essence, this means that Vanderdoes will be treated like a transfer student and have to sit out a year, which would be meaningless for many recruits, but Vanderdoes was probably good enough to get on the field as a true freshman.
As they do on virtually every molecular movement of the universe, Twitter had a reaction to the Vanderdoes news.
Some of it was classy, like this tweet from Notre Dame All-American nose tackle Louis Nix, who Vanderdoes would've eventually replaced and who's a kid who knows a little something about being homesick in South Bend. (Nix, a Jacksonville native, had been rumored a few times during his younger years to be exploring a transfer.):
— lOUIS NIX III (@1IrishChocolate) June 4, 2013
...aaaaand then there was your typical twitter react, from jilted Notre Dame fans (and some non-Notre Dame people who just seem to be anti-Vanderdoes) who are way more emotionally invested in the future of an 18-year-old defensive lineman than they should be, and far more courageous in anonymous 140-character blurbs than they are in person.
Let's examine the work of some of these losers:
@EddieVanderdoes you suck really bad ucla over the irish jajaja what a joke!!
— Samuel Ramirez (@samuel27rc) June 4, 2013
Real question: Is "jajaja" Spanish for "hahaha"? (EDITOR'S NOTE: Surprisingly, the answer is yes.)
@EddieVanderdoes Go home to your Mammy, you sissy
— David Lange (@dlange19) June 4, 2013
Your Mammy?!? What year is it?
— Michael Conroy (@Conroy1178) June 4, 2013
Michael, I don't know how to break this to you because it might make you feel underprivileged, but nowadays there are these outlets called cable systems and satellite companies, and they broadcast literally thousands of channels. In fact, they broadcast so many channels that Eddie Vanderdoes could go to a Sun Belt school and most of his games would be on television. Yeah, I know, there's an actual upgrade to your rabbit ear antennas and coat hanger dangling from the back of your Sony Trinitron. I know, this just blew your mind, right??
Let's keep movin'...
Well, @EddieVanderdoes is now a pussy.
— austin johanning (@austinnd44) June 4, 2013
Ah, Eddie Vanderdoes is NOW a pussy. Gotcha. Hey, Austin, just so you know, most magicians say "Abracadabra" or "A la peanut butter sandwiches" before they magically transform someone from one life form to another.
@EddieVanderdoes I hate you! You are a LIAR, A QUITER, AND A LOSER! I AM DONE FOLLOWING YOU!!!
— Stephen Bright (@sgtsteveirish) June 4, 2013
I love these tweets. "You didn't just lose a fan, you lost a TWITTER FOLLOWER, Vanderdoes!!!" Also, does anyone else see the irony in someone with the last name "Bright" misspelling "QUITTER"?
— Cookie Rojas (@ItGetsByBuckner) June 4, 2013
Hey, I'm a Notre Dame fan, a Notre Dame grad, I love Notre Dame. But one 12-0 regular season doesn't mean that the Irish are back at a point where they can be promising players who eschew them that they are, without a doubt, in for a less fruitful plight elsewhere than they will experience in South Bend. Let's not forget that prior to 2012, Notre Dame was pretty much the independent equivalent of "4th in the Pac 12" for the last two decades.
— Block (@Block_Saibot) May 29, 2013
So wait, is he rat shit or is he oyster shit? Big difference. (By the way, "oyster" is now in the lead for most random organism's feces I've heard referred to in the phrase "you sack of _____ shit." Easily.)
@EddieVanderdoes good luck at UCLA lol.. Weak sauce
— Michael Jenoff (@MJenoff) June 4, 2013
"Weak sauce" is also an accurate description of your tweet. Good job, good effort, Michael.
@EddieVanderdoes Stupid stupid stupid! I knew you had zero integrity!
— Christopher Hall (@INDY1111Hall) June 4, 2013
This one is funny. I'm picturing Christopher frantically pacing on signing day, practically ready to erupt, for as Eddie Vanderdoes is receiving unbridled adulation from the recruiting world, Christopher Hall knows, he KNOWS, that Eddie Vanderdoes has zero integrity. he spends the next three months telling anyone who will listen that Eddie Vanderdoes has zero integrity. The overwhelming reply from Hall's collective audience? "Who the fuck is Eddie Vanderdoes?...Actually, who the fuck are you? Get way from me, creeper..."
Well, glad you're finally vindicated, Christopher. Phew.
@EddieVanderdoes remember karma is a *itch... if you blow out an ACL or get hurt @ UCLA, won't you wonder, am I the cause of my own demise?
— Mark Ham (@ham_mark) June 4, 2013
Okay, jokes aside, there is nothing more punk ass than wishing injury on a player, especially done in a passive-aggressive fashion like this asshole is doing. You suck, Mark Ham. You suck.
You all suck, Twitter thugs.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.