One of the biggest USC recruiting targets at The Opening -- literally and figuratively -- has been defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes from Auburn (Calif.) Placer.
Vanderdoes (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) is a player who is athletic enough to also star as a baseball pitcher in addition to being one of the most highly touted d-line prospects in the nation and he is a huge priority on the wish list for Trojans coaches.
USC would like to add two more bodies on the D-line for this class and Vanderdoes is showing a lot of mutual interest in the Trojans.
“USC is really up there for me,” Vanderdoes said. “I really like what they present. The recruiting class is off the hook, there’s a lot of plusses and no minuses there from the facilities to the coaches to the academics. It’s a private school so you don’t get lost in the shuffle in classes.”
Vanderdoes recently released a list of the top 10 schools he is considering and he made clear that they are in no particular order: Baylor, California, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, USC and Washington.
While most internet-message-board speculation has Oregon as the team to beat, Vanderdoes insists that USC has a “great” chance to be his college home.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to take an official visit to any West Coast schools but I might take one to USC just to talk with the players,” Vanderdoes said. “I’ve been to the USC campus once -- for their Junior Day -- but I plan to be going down there soon for an unofficial trip. I need to talk with Coach (Clay) Helton and Coach (Ed) Orgeron after I get back from The Opening to set something up.”
Helton serves as his primary recruiting contact with the Trojans. Orgeron would be his position coach if he should choose USC. Vanderdoes said he is building good relationships with both.
“Coach O, his personality is bigger than this world,” Vanderdoes said. “He’s a great guy. It’s a little hard to understand him sometimes (laughing) but he puts guys in the league and that’s a huge plus. He’s very confident in his coaching style and very confident in what USC presents.
“Right now USC is talking to me about defensive end with the possibility of being a defensive tackle. I don’t have a preference -- I honestly like switching it up and playing both, so I’m fine either way.”
Vanderdoes has also been in contact with several of the USC commits this weekend at The Opening.
“I’ve been talking to guys like Justin Davis, Max Browne and Sebastian Larue,” Vanderdoes said. “I talk to Michael Hutchings all the time, but he hasn’t been harassing me too bad up here.”
Vanderdoes suffered a sprained shoulder during Sunday drills at The Opening and sat out the final sessions.