Eddie Vanderdoes could decommit from Notre Dame

On Monday night, multiple UCLA and Notre Dame recruiting sites reported rumors that five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes may be parting ways with the Irish.

From the Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson, who emceed the Placer High star’s signing day ceremony:

Speculation about Vanderdoes ranged from character concerns to an academic fall out. Vanderdoes’ coaches continued to rave about his upstanding character on Monday, and his father Eddie Vanderdoes on Monday night texted of his son, “One thing I can tell you is grades or eligibility is not and has never been an issue.”

Placer football coach Joey Montoya affirmed Vanderdoes’ academic eligibility, and praised his character as well. Regardless of reason, he seems set to leave the Irish before even arriving in South Bend.

Should Notre Dame release him from his letter of intent, the blue-chipper could very well be headed to UCLA. Although he also had USC and Washington hats on the table, Vanderdoes’ other major finalist was Alabama, a destination the Irish may wish to block. (Correction: Schools cannot block destinations once they release a player from a letter of intent. All or nothing.)

Given that Vanderdoes was the biggest recruit UCLA missed on, securing him would be a major coup for a defensive line that was banged up through spring practice. Though he’s primarily a 4-3 tackle, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect could also play as a 3-4 end.

Early return for Owa Odighizuwa ‘conceivable’

Originally expected to miss all of fall after undergoing hip surgery, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa could return in time for UCLA’s season opener.

The rising senior had missed spring practice after offseason surgery to repair damage in his left hip. Last Tuesday, he had surgery to repair what was feared to be a tear in his right hip, but the operation revealed only fraying. Head coach Jim Mora said Odighizuwa could return in as soon as two or three months.

“I think it’s conceivable that he could be ready for the start of the year,” Mora said. “I think what’s important is that we make sure he’s 100 percent before we ask him to go back out there. We’ve got to move slowly and efficiently.” Continue reading “Early return for Owa Odighizuwa ‘conceivable’” »

UCLA to play home-and-home series with Alabama

UCLA’s preseason schedule continues to fill up, with the latest development being a home-and-home series with Alabama (per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein). The Crimson Tide, who finished 23-13 last season and lost to Maryland in the NIT quarterfinals, will play at Pauley Pavilion this upcoming fall.

This follows news earlier this month of both a late-December date with Duke at Madison Square Garden, as well as a spot in the Las Vegas Invitational on Thanksgiving weekend.

Shabazz Muhammad not helping stock at NBA draft combine

One of the first questions asked of Shabazz Muhammad at the NBA draft combine this week was, unsurprisingly, about his age. The former No. 1 recruit’s one-and-done season at UCLA had begun with a suspension and ended with a bizarre report that his father, Ron Holmes, made his son one year younger.

After confirming again that he is 20 years old, Muhammad hinted that the blame lay solely with his father.

“I’m gonna talk for myself now,” he said. “I was a guy who used to just play basketball and let some of my guys talk for me, family members. Right now, I’m more mature as a person.”

Muhammad may also be the only lottery pick who is participating in the NBA draft combine workouts. Top prospects typically opt out since they don’t have much to gain, and arrive instead for interviews. The reigning Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year said he chose to participate because he always wants to complete. “I’m not running from anybody,” he told ESPN’s Andy Katz. Continue reading “Shabazz Muhammad not helping stock at NBA draft combine” »