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Monday, February 4, 2013
The Uncommitteds: Eddie Vanderdoes

By Alex Scarborough

Editor's note: From now until signing day, TideNation will examine the remaining uncommitted prospects still considering the University of Alabama. Today, we look at ESPN 150 defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- If Alabama is going to claim the title of the No. 1 class in the country, a lot of things are going to have to fall into place, maybe none more so than Eddie Vanderdoes. Should the five-star defensive tackle from Northern California opt to sign with the Crimson Tide on signing day, it might be enough to unseat the leader in the clubhouse, Florida.

So far, Alabama has just one five-star commitment (Derrick Henry). Adding another would tie UA with the Gators in that category and give it the lead in terms of ESPN 300 signees.

But Vanderdoes is more than just a chip on the board. The 10th-ranked player in the ESPN 150 is a prized prospect for what he can do on the football field, as well. At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, he appears ready to come in and contribute right away. Alabama defensive line coach Chris Rumph paid Vanderdoes a visit in mid-January and told the much sought after lineman as much.

"[Rumph] really opened my eyes to the program a lot more," Vanderdoes told ESPN at the time of the visit. "He really showed me where I fit into the scheme. He sees potential in me."

Said ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill: "Once again we're seeing the long arm of Alabama's recruiting reach into California."

Whether that arm can reach out and snatch Vanderdoes from the west coast remains to be seen. He's scheduled to make his announcement official Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT.

What his commitment would mean ...

Make no mistake, Jesse Williams will be missed in an Alabama uniform. The former playmaker at nose guard did so much for the Crimson Tide defense in his short time at Alabama. Losing his ability to disrupt both the running and passing game will hurt next season and beyond.

While both sophomore Brandon Ivory and freshman Darren Lake are solid prospects at nose guard, it can be argued that neither posses the upside of Vanderdoes. Ivory and Lake both were considered marginal prospects coming out of high school, ranked as three-stars in the mid-50s at their position. Vanderdoes, conversely, is the top defensive tackle in the country, according to ESPN, and could make an impact at either nose guard or defensive end at Alabama.

Adding Vanderdoes would give a spark to the competition on the defensive line, injecting some athleticism to an area that has been lacking it. His ability to burst through the seams of the offense and create pressure on the passing game is something UA has sorely missed in the past year.

Last we heard …

A source within the UA football program told TideNation over the weekend that Vanderdoes is down to just two schools: Alabama and Notre Dame. But don't count out the home state UCLA Bruins who remain interested in the defensive tackle's services, though UA might have the momentum heading into signing day. Such was the effect of the prospect's visit to Tuscaloosa. In fact, he was the only official visitor scheduled to be on campus the weekend before signing day.

While it remains to be seen just how well the visit went, the player's Twitter account offered a glimpse into the weekend.

On Saturday night he tweeted: "Watching film with Coach Rumph of Marcell Dareus and I [definitely] see the similarity in body type and how we play! Got me excited!"

Earlier in the day he took a picture with the national championship trophy and wrote: "Haha never a bad day having brunch at Coach [Nick] Saban's house then getting to ride his golf cart to his lake."