There is proving to be some good and bad in Notre Dame's recruitment of great defensive linemen.
For the second time in as many springs, the Fighting Irish may be on the precipice of losing an extremely talented player.
There is rampant speculation that 2013 heralded recruit Eddie Vanderdoes may not unleash his talent at Notre Dame Stadium after all, and his father's (Eddie Vanderdoes Sr.) words aren't exactly quieting the rumors.
"Let people speculate,” the elder Vanderdoes texted to the Sacramento Bee on Monday. “but you will be the first to know, as always, when it's time to let people know."
The younger Vanderdoes would be the second high profile defensive lineman to leave the Notre Dame program in a year. Last spring, Aaron Lynch transferred to South Florida in the middle of spring football following a highly successful freshman season with the Irish.
The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Vanderdoes had originally verbally committed to USC, but re-opened his recruitment and ultimately chose the Irish on national signing day.
The national recruiting experts claimed that the Vanderdoes signing gave fourth-year Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly his best recruiting class yet.
“I love agreeing with the experts,” Kelly laughed at the time.
Vanderdoes is regarded as a versatile defensive lineman that can add depth to an already elite squad. Current Irish defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III are regarded as probable high draft picks for the 2014 NFL Draft and the unit as a whole was rated as the second best defensive line in the country by Athlon Sports on Tuesday.
Vanderdoes is a first-team defensive lineman on 247Sports All-America team out of Placer High School (Auburn, Calif.). He also earned second-team USA Today All-USA high school All-American honors, while being ranked 33rd player nationally on ESPN 300 list.
As a senior at Placer, Vanderdoes registered 72 tackles, nine sacks, 10 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Kelly said following his signing that this type of recruiting class is what is vital to achieving the success that the Irish had in 2012, when they went 12-0 before falling to Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
"It's a recruiting class that when you're looking at it from my perspective,” Kelly said, “it meets the time and place as to where we are right now. We're a team that has gone from unranked to top 10 ranking, top five ranking, at times we're the No. 1 team in the country, and I think your class begins to reflect that as you move forward.”
Irish highly thought of
Following what some regarded as a miracle season in 2012, the expectations for Notre Dame football have not fallen far entering the 2013 season.
Athlon Sports unveiled its preseason rankings on Tuesday and the Irish are rated eighth.
"Notre Dame was not a one-hit wonder," Executive editor Mitch Light said in a release. "Everett Golson is back at quarterback, and the Irish should be very strong on both the offensive and defensive line.
Three Notre Dame players earned preseason All-American honors, as defensive
end Stephon Tuitt and defensive tackle Louis Nix III were named to the first team, and offensive tackle Zack Martin to the third team.
In addition, the defensive line unit was rated second nationally, while the linebackers unit was ranked sixth, and the defensive backs unit was rated 10th.
"The schedule is challenging," Light said, "but Brian Kelly's club will be in the hunt for a BCS bowl."