With the news that Scout.com 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes has formally decommitted from the Trojans, what does this mean to USC's recruiting class of 2013?
Well, for some, the announcement comes as little of a surprise.
As long as two weeks ago, I speculated that Vanderdoes might be wavering on his pledge and offered a possible replacement should that happen.
In that piece, it was noted that the big defensive tackle from Auburn, CA was looking around and that there was a possibility that his last visit prior to the national letter of intent signing day might very well go to Notre Dame, which didn't portend well for USC.
Now that Vanderdoes has confirmed that he is "fair game" again, where does this leave the Trojans and how might this shake out for USC?
In the short run, it removes a significant piece from a unit that desperately needs the talent that a guy like Vanderdoes brings to the table.
Big and tough, the 6'3.5", 303-pound defensive tackle brings a relentless commitment to the line and his mere potential at the next level is almost unlimited.
Of course, it should be noted that all is not lost yet for USC when it comes to Vanderdoes.
In an article by Scout.com's Greg Biggins, Vanderdoes noted, “It was nothing against USC and I told them that. USC is still high on my list and I still plan to take my official visit there (Jan. 18). I just felt like I had some other great options and I wanted to give them a fair look."
That's nice, Eddie, but Trojan fans felt a whole lot better about you prior to your opening things back up.
So—expecting the worst—where does USC turn now to rebuild their depleted defensive line?
Let's start from the beginning.
USC is already in possession of a fabulous tackle in the form of 5-star Kenny Bigelow, who will enroll early and be on campus in January.
Bigelow—USC's first verbal commitment of 2013—is every bit as good as Vanderdoes and if USC would have lost his pledge, that would have represented an even greater loss for line coach Ed Orgeron's unit.
But the Trojans need more for this unit from this class.
Despite the emergence of true freshman Leonard Williams and young talent in the form of tackles George Uko and Antwuan Woods, the Trojans need depth at the position for rotation purposes as they contend with the spread offenses abound in the league.
So USC must find at least one more incoming stud to accompany Bigelow in this class.
The most likely candidate at this time is already considered a "soft verbal" to Texas.
A commitment by Robinson, who is an absolute beast, would certainly go a long way to mitigating the loss of Vandedoes.
Who else is there beyond Robinson that USC could go after to fill that now empty slot on the defensive line?
Montravious Adams, a huge 5-star tackle, was being worked on by the USC recruiting staff but he is considered unlikely to come west for the Trojans.
Beyond Adams though, that is it for Trojan targets at this position.
Which leaves USC and its fans with the hope that recruiting coordinator (and position coach) Ed Orgeron will work his persuasive magic with either Vanderdoes or Robinson in this class the way he unexpectedly delivered Leonard Williams in last year's class.
So although Vanderdoes' withdrawal of his pledge casts a forlorn pall on the status of this class, all is not lost.
After all, Orgeron can still pull a rabbit out of his hat, right?