ESPN 150 DT Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) decommitted from USC on Thursday night, Placer coach Joey Montoya confirmed on Friday.
The No. 33 player in the ESPN 150 is now considering Notre Dame, UCLA and Washington, in addition to the Trojans.
The loss of Vanderdoes, the No. 4-rated defensive tackle, caused the Trojans to slip from second to fourth in the recruiting class rankings. Despite having only 15 verbal commitments, the Trojans sit in good position overall and aren’t entirely out on the Vanderdoes front.
The timing could have been far worse for the Trojans.
Yes, the 6-foot-3, 303-pound Vanderdoes became another former USC commit. But unlike Massington, he didn't pledge to another school. The Trojans are still very much in the running.
USC will still be Vanderdoes' final visit, on Jan. 18, so that’s good news for defensive line coach Ed Orgeron with signing day more than five weeks away. That gives Orgeron plenty of time to get the four-star lineman on board again.
The magnitude of Vanderdoes' decision would be momentous if he had made it at the last minute. A decommitment now isn’t catastrophic -- the coaching staff knows how much work it has to do to secure a signature on Feb. 6, when Vanderdoes plans to announce.
“I wanna thank everyone who is still in my corner with this whole process couldn’t ask for better support from all you guys. ... Being a recruit isn’t easy, life decisions. Hope everyone will keep supporting too, take care and goodnight love you all who support,” Vanderdoes wrote in two separate messages on his Twitter account.
As for the other schools still in the running, Notre Dame entered the picture relatively late, but the Fighting Irish have great appeal as a Discover BCS Championship participant. Vanderdoes is scheduled to officially visit South Bend the weekend of Jan. 11.
USC isn’t the only Los Angeles school competing for Vanderdoes. The defensive tackle called his Nov. 23 weekend trip to UCLA an “eye-opening experience,” and he has a great bond with Bruins defensive line coach and on-campus recruiting coordinator Angus McClure, who has strong ties in Vanderdoes’ hometown and around the Sacramento area.
Vanderdoes also thoroughly enjoyed his Dec. 14 visit to Washington. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi, who last season made the move to Seattle from Cal, should not be disregarded.
Ultimately, USC still stands as the school to beat. Like Redfield before him, Vanderdoes opened up his recruitment to fully explore other options, but the Trojans have the inside track and final visit to make the big impression.