Why Is Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Having a Hard Time Holding On to Recruits?

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJune 5, 2013

Feb 6, 2013; Auburn, CA, USA; Eddie Vanderdoes shown with his mother Behia on national signing day at Placer High School. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Vanderdoes, through the Sacramento Bee, released a letter notifying everyone that he would officially not be enrolling at Notre Dame. Instead, he's headed to UCLA to sit out his required one season before suiting up for the Bruins.

Vanderdoes is another in a long line of players who have turning down the Irish, leading observers and radio hosts to pose the question: Why can't Brian Kelly get and keep so many of these talented players at Notre Dame?

Pump the brakes. The sky's not falling. In fact, life for the Fighting Irish is pretty good right now.

Sure, they lost Vanderdoes, who it must be noted was a surprise addition to the 2013 class. But, overall, the program is in tremendous shape on the recruiting landscape. After a No. 5 finish in 2013, Kelly has Notre Dame No. 5 again in the 247 Sports composite rankings for 2014.


Vanderdoes is not a trend, he's a special case. But what about the other recruits Kelly and staff lost? Wide receiver Deontay Greenberry ended up at Houston. Linebacker Alex Anzalone was a Florida lean, even as a public Notre Dame commit. Offensive lineman Jamel James is now at Texas State, and linebacker Danny Mattingly is closer to home at Oregon.

That is not cause for concern, that is recruiting.

Everyone loses committed recruits during the process. Changes of heart, changes of coaching staffs and changes of mind happen.

Now, for those lumping in recruiting with the transfers, the key is to understand how trends work. Losing Tee Shepard and Aaron Lynch in 2012, plus Gunner Kiel in 2013, does not make a trend. A trend is the massive jumping off the boat that we saw when Randy Edsall took over the program at Maryland in 2011. A total of 24 players left following that coaching change, as detailed in this ESPN.com story.

Shepard withdrawing from Notre Dame had little to do with why Lynch pushed to get back home and transfer to USF. Those had nothing to do with Kiel looking for playing time in 2013.

None of them have anything to do with Vanderdoes and the decision to not enroll at Notre Dame and head to UCLA.

The question will be asked when another player decommits or transfers, but that does not mean it is warranted. The best move is to pay attention to the situations, so as not to confuse individual cases with trends that do not exist.