While most top recruits announce their future plans in the early hours of national signing day, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes has opted to be fashionably late with his decision.
At 6’2” and 310 pounds, any school in the country would be thrilled to put him on its defensive line.
With his pick from five excellent programs, here are his options—ranked in order of which program will be most beneficial for his football career.
Update: Vanderdoes announced he's chosen to sign with Notre Dame.
While Steve Sarkisian is a quality coach, his program simply is not on the level of Vanderdoes’ other finalists.
As one of the most coveted players in the country, it would be surprising to see him sign for a program that has not won 10 games or been to a major bowl game in 12 seasons.
Ultimately, all the other programs can offer more prestige and a better chance to have an illustrious collegiate career on a winning team.
After starting the season as the No. 1 team in the country, the Trojans had a hard fall from grace during 2012, and now the future is certainly cloudy.
There are serious doubts about Lane Kiffin’s ability to get the program back to the point where it is contending for national championships, and Vanderdoes likely sees more instability than he would like at USC.
The Trojan’s history is alluring, but the present is not all that attractive. Vanderdoes would be better off going elsewhere.
3. Notre Dame
Choosing a school that made it to the national championship the previous year cannot be a bad decision, but it still doesn’t make South Bend Vanderdoes’ best choice.
Brian Kelly has shown the ability to attract top-level defensive talent, and it is likely that Vanderdoes would have exceptional players surrounding him in South Bend.
There would be little reason to criticize Vanderdoes if he signed for the Fighting Irish, but he would be better off at the following schools.
Jim Mora had an incredible amount of success in his first season in charge of the Bruins, and there is plenty of excitement in Westwood.
UCLA has 247Sports’ No. 9 recruiting class, and Vanderdoes would be the undisputed star of the group if he decided to head to Los Angeles.
Mora’s history as an NFL coach also suggests that he will be able to set the defensive tackle up to have success at the next level. If Vanderdoes decides to go with the Bruins, he will be playing for competitive teams throughout his collegiate career and he will have the guidance he needs to excel on Sundays in the future.
While location, academics and several other factors play important roles in influencing a prospect’s decision, judging only by what is best for Vanderdoes on the football field reveals one clear choice.
Alabama has won three of the last four BCS titles and has this year’s No. 1 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. If Vanderdoes decides to roll with the Tide, there will not be another set of prospects that comes anywhere close to being as talented as the group heading to Tuscaloosa.
Every day at practice, Vanderdoes would be pushed to new heights by some of the top talents across the country. There is no doubt that playing for Nick Saban will give him the best chance to win a national title.