Notre Dame football: Status unclear for blue chipper Vanderdoes

ERIC HANSEN - <a href="http:

Less than a month before he was to start his Notre Dame footballcareer with summer school and informal workouts, defensive linemanEddie Vanderdoes and his future morphed into a runaway rumor Monday.

And seemingly the only two people not talking about it in the collegefootball cyber-world were the two who could bring actual substance tothe discussion -- Irish fourth-year head coach Brian Kelly andVanderdoes himself.

Sources close to the situation only added to the gray areas, offeringa multitude of reasons for a possible 11th-hour defection as well as awide variety of possible outcomes.

However, Sacramento Bee reporter Joe Davidson, who covered Vanderdoesin high school and throughout his recruiting process, posted thefollowing on his Twitter account Monday night: "I did get this fromVanderdoes family: Grades, eligibility or conduct/character 'is notand has never been an issue.'"

The only absolute is that if Vanderdoes does drop out of the class, hewill be missed, perhaps in coming seasons more than 2013.

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman from Placer High School inAuburn, Calif., figured to push his way into the two-deeps this fall,likely at defensive end, though he has the versatility to play insideas well. had ranked him as the No. 21 prospect overall regardless ofposition, and 247Sports had him sixth overall in the 2013 class, andhe has done nothing before or since to shake those lofty expectations.

Should Vanderdoes defect -- and UCLA is the reported targetedalternative -- it would take away what figures to be a cornerstone onthe defensive line in 2014.

Junior end Stephon Tuitt and senior nose guard Louis Nix, the latterof whom retains a fifth-year option, are both projected as first-roundNFL draft choices in 2014 and likely wouldn't play out their collegeeligibility.

The next two nose guards on the depth chart -- senior Kona Schwenke andfifth-year senior Tyler Stockton are gone after this season.

Of the remaining D-line options, projected starting sophomoredefensive end Sheldon Day and junior backup Tony Springmann are theonly two healthy defensive linemen who have recorded at least onetackle in their college careers.

Junior Chase Hounshell, whose most recent game action came during the2011 season, will miss all of 2013 with his third shoulder surgery inless than two years after sitting out 2012 with the same issues.

Senior end Justin Utupo has yet to see any significant action in hiscareer. Sophomore end Jarron Jones redshirted last season.

Among the other incoming freshmen, both Isaac Rochell (6-5, 260) andJacob Matuska (6-5, 240) are not projected as college-ready prospectsand need some time to develop. The Irish have two defensive linecommits in their 2014 class so far -- Jay Hayes (6-5, 270) of Brooklyn,N.Y., and Andrew Trumbetti (6-5, 247) of Demarest, N.J.

A possible solution might be to consider moving either junior IshaqWilliams or classmate Ben Councell from the deep outside linebackerranks to end. Williams already split time between the two positions inthe spring and excelled at it.

Then again, Vanderdoes may start summer school on June 17 with all butthe early enrollees in his class.

The prep All-American signed with Notre Dame late on national signingday, Feb. 6, after a change of heart. He was originally committed toUSC.

Eddie Vanderdoes