Ducks miss out on Vanderdoes: What now?

When Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) made his pledge to the USC Trojans on Wednesday, the Oregon Ducks missed out on perhaps their most important target in the class of 2013.

Losing out on a recruit to USC is nothing new, but the Ducks typically find a way to soften the blow. So where do the Ducks go from here?

The defensive line is always a position of need, especially in Eugene. Putting together another strong class of defensive linemen to add to last year's crop of talented big men would have the Ducks flying higher than ever before. Losing out on Vanderdoes might seem like a big blow, but it's only July and a lot can change between now and signing day.

Ducks fans need to look no further than last year's top defensive lineman from the Sacramento area, Arik Armstead.

There are a number of elite defensive linemen left on the board, including Vita Vea (Milpitas, Calif./Milpitas), who is quickly rising the charts and has the size to play inside or out in the Oregon defensive system.

The Ducks are no strangers to missing out on the top defensive line targets and they have managed to win three consecutive league titles with the pieces they have picked up along the way.

While top West Coast prospects such as Vanderdoes and Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) are committed to USC and Washington, respectively, a verbal pledge is sometimes nothing more than a talking point.

The Ducks have plenty of time to adjust their focus and the coaching staff will fill in the blanks with guys who fit the Oregon system.

Unlike the quarterback position, the Ducks absolutely need to add a couple defensive linemen in this class. New prospects will emerge, commits to other schools will visit Eugene and the Oregon staff will put together a solid group on the defensive front.

While missing out on a big prospect at such an important position always leaves an empty feeling for fans, nothing in certain in recruiting. Last year at this time, Shaq Thompson and Armstead were considered locks to Cal and USC.

Thompson is now playing summer league baseball in the Boston Red Sox system before heading to Seattle to strap on the pads for the Huskies. As for Armstead, he is already enrolled in Eugene and ready to make an impact on the defensive line, regardless of who is lined up next to him.