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Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Trojans add ESPN 150 DT Vanderdoes

By Erik McKinney

There was no stopping the USC Trojans on Wednesday. After receiving commitment from offensive linemen Khaliel Rodgers (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), the Trojans capped off the night with a commitment from the nation's No. 57 player, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer).

"I really weighed the plusses and minuses of every school and USC had the most plusses," Vanderdoes said. "The academics, the power of the degree, getting a great job in the business industry, the football program is second-to-none, Southern California is a place I love, they're in dire need of depth at the position and that was a huge factor because I want to come in and compete right away. The defensive scheme is a dream for me and I like their attacking style. That separated them from every other school."

The 6-foot-3, 302-pound defensive tackle is a significant addition for USC. Vanderdoes received offers from programs across the country, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee, and some eyebrows were raised when it seemed as if the Trojans took their time in offering a scholarship. But Vanderdoes said there were no such issues.

"They made all the right moves and did all the right stuff," Vanderdoes said of USC's recruiting pitch. "If you look at the big picture, it doesn't matter if you come in as the top guy or the bottom guy, you still have to put the pads on and compete."

Vanderdoes said his mind was made up on USC several weeks ago and called coach Clay Helton to give his commitment.

"He was blindsided by it -- not expecting it at all," Vanderdoes said. "He was really excited and going crazy over the phone."

Much has been made about the class USC is building, but Vanderdoes was quick to point out that if he was the first to commit to the Trojans, it still would have been his choice. But his experience last weekend at The Opening made him even more certain.

"This [recruiting] class is obviously off the hook and being up at The Opening really solidified my decision," Vanderdoes said. "It made me a USC lock. I talked to all the commits and I felt like I was already a part of them. It was a cool feeling. Those are people I'd like to associate with for the next four years."

Vanderdoes will take an unofficial visit to USC next week, where he will meet with the entire football coaching staff as well as athletic director Pat Haden and the USC baseball coaching staff.

The four-star defensive tackle is commitment No. 14 -- and the 14th four-star recruit -- for the Trojans in the 2013 recruiting class, leaving them with four available spots in a class facing reduced numbers.