Saying definitively where Placer (Auburn, Calif.)
manchild Eddie Vanderdoes
will play college football is an impossibility.
Unless, of course, one could invade the brain of the nation's No. 6 recruit himself. According to 247Sports, Vanderdoes is one of just eight seniors in the land who scored a perfect 100 on its rating scale.
"No one can say," said 25-year Sacramento Bee staff writer and prep expert Joe Davidson, "because Eddie doesn't know himself."
"Vanderdoes is one of those
players a coach gets once in a lifetime if they are lucky," said Placer head coach Joey Montoya. "Not only
because he's a great football player, but he's an even better kid."
The 6-foot-3½ , 310-pound Vanderdoes, who former USC lineman and 13-year broadcaster Mike Lamb calls "the best defensive lineman I've seen — he's an ‘Oh, my God' kind of kid," thought he knew.
He committed to USC last summer but the allure and constant recruiting buzz eventually wore him down.
In December, he opened things up and accepted a recruiting trip to UCLA. Unfortunately for USC fans the trip went very well, which made Vanderdoes' decision even more complicated.
According to Davidson, who keeps close tabs with the physically and mentally impressive athlete, Vanderdoes has found the process painstaking and he started losing sleep just before wowing more scouts at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.View photos of Vanderdoes at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
USC and UCLA are definitely in the mix along with Washington — all places he's taken trips — in addition to Notre Dame and Alabama. He's scheduled to take a trip to Notre Dame this weekend and Alabama the next.
National Signing Day is Feb. 6.
"He's taking it right down to the wire," Davidson said. "He's too smart and too bright and classy of a kid to be playing these schools for fools. He sincerely doesn't know. He's lost sleep and is stressed."
Vanderdoes told Davidson three weeks ago: "It's a life decision. It's not an easy decision. It's eating at me … I need to take my time."
And every school certainly believes he's worth the wait.
According to Jon Osterhout, who coaches at American River College near Sacramento and runs instructional camps called Linemen Win Games, told Davidson of Vanderdoes: "(He's an) immediate, eye-opening jaw dropper. His size, flexibility, explosiveness, football IQ and sheer power were evident in the first 20 minutes."
Osterhout, of course, has studied Vanderdoes for much longer than that. He witnessed Vanderdoes rip the vinyl covering off the Styrofoam blocking shield, knock one of his staff members woozy in a minimum-contact drill and toy with five-man blocking sleds with the power of Ndamukong Suh, whom Osterhout worked with in college.
"This may seem (like) things legends are made of, but … you know you are witnessing greatness," Osterhout told Davidson.
So, with two recruiting trips yet to go, we'll take a wild stab in the dark. In two weeks, we might just change our rankings as well.Favorite: UCLA
Something changed when Vanderdoes visited former Sacramento State assistant and now position coach Angus McClure in Los Angeles. There's a definite vibe that UCLA, under Jim Mora, is on the rise — as opposed to its cross-town rival. Vanderdoes loves his family, and though sophisticated enough to travel far, Los Angeles seems the best distance — about 400 miles. Co-contender: Notre Dame
Up until the national title game blowout and fake girlfriend scam, all the momentum seemed to be heading toward South Bend. Notre Dame is still on the rise — the tradition is second to none — but Brian Kelly might scare off some recruits, including Vanderdoes. Kelly is such a hot commodity, one more undefeated regular season and he might be off to the NFL. Co-contender: Alabama
Hard to go against the Crimson Tide under any circumstance. The massive pros for Alabama are the fact that it is the two-time defending national champion and that Tuscaloosa, if all goes according to plan, will be Vanderdoes' last memory. It will be freshest on his mind. A potential massive con is that it is so far away from home. Vanderdoes maintains distance isn't a factor, but Alabama and California are largely at the opposite ends of the planet culturally. However, that could also be a plus for Alabama if Vanderdoes is looking for a change.Sleeper: Washington
The Huskies have been nothing but solid through the entire process and its obviously a program on the rise. Former Sac-Joaquin Section standout Shaq Thompson, of nearby Grant, was a very convincing host during Vanderdoes' visit. Long shot: USC
Vanderdoes is a tremendously loyal
and smart and it hurt him to tell USC he was opening things back up. But there had to be a reason for it. New USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, by most accounts, will employ a 3-4 attack which differs from the old 4-3 alignment. That might rock Vanderdoes' world. Then again, he could come to the realization that one's first instinct is always
best — at least that's what they tell you on exams. The next two weeks will definitely test Vanderdoes' analytical skills.Watch more videos of Placer football