Landing 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes capped off a fantastic coup for Brian Kelly and Notre Dame on national signing day.
The highly-coveted recruit announced his intentions just after 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday, spurning contenders Alabama, UCLA, USC and Washington in the process. He called it a "lifetime decision," per Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee.
There was a lot of speculation surrounding the 6'2", 310-pounder before the big day. Alabama, of course, was the defending champion (complete with master recruiter Nick Saban). However, SlapTheSign.com's Andrew Hall and others covering the recruiting process pointed toward Notre Dame after Vanderdoes enjoyed a nice visit in South Bend.
The whirlwind was started by Vanderdoes decommitting from USC in December.
Speculation got even more heated when Notre Dame noted Vanderdoes as a signing in its list to the media earlier in the day (via MaxPreps.com).
The signing of Vanderdoes gives the Fighting Irish the No. 3 class in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. Not only did Notre Dame land Vanderdoes, it also landed 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith and 5-star safety Max Redfield. That's in addition to the program's 17 4-star recruits (tied for fourth in the nation).
Some believe the string of three national championships in four years for Saban and the Crimson Tide is just the beginning of the program's reign. However, Notre Dame's class this year figures to make the Fighting Irish a strong contender moving forward, as they were last season.
While Notre Dame lost some key players after the 2012 campaign (inside linebacker Manti Te'o, tight end Tyler Eifert, safety Zeke Motta, running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood), the incoming class has the potential to make up for all of that...and more.
Beyond the defensive class, Notre Dame also picked up 4-star running back Greg Bryant, 4-star dual-threat quarterback Malik Zaire, two 4-star tight ends, three 4-star receivers and five 4-star offensive linemen, according to 247Sports.com.
For a program that made it to the national championship game and held opponents to 12.8 points per contest (second in the nation) in 2012-13, what a recruiting season it has been for Kelly's Fighting Irish.
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