- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
USC defensive tackle commit Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) was in Los Angeles over the weekend while the Trojans did battle against rival Notre Dame at the Coliseum, but the four-star prospect was across town on his official visit to UCLA.
The trip was a great one, Vanderdoes said, but the 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman remained committed to USC upon his return to Northern California.
"I'm still solid to USC, but maybe a little softer just because I came off this visit," Vanderdoes said. "They (UCLA) were supposed to show me a good time and that was my first official, but it was definitely eye opening. My interest in UCLA has definitely picked up more than it was before."
"It went great. I had a great time down there," Vanderdoes said. "I got to ask a lot of unanswered questions that I wanted to ask and I got a lot of truthful answers out of it. It was a really good time. Nate Iese and Marcus Rios, they're local guys and I've known them for a while, so it was great hanging out with them. I got to hang out with the staff a good amount, too, so that was really good."
Vanderdoes was interested in the Bruins before committing to USC in July, but that interest gradually diminished as his loyalty to the Trojans grew. The weekend trip to Westwood offered a new perspective.
"It was really eye-opening, as in the culture there is really different than it has been in the past," Vanderdoes. "It's a whole lot different. The confidence level is a lot higher there than it used to be. There's more of a swagger than there used to be that I really like. It's a lot more upbeat and there's a great family feeling. The coaching staff was really honest about pretty much everything. You can kind of tell when you ask a question and the coach is kind of just kissing your butt with a recruiting pitch. These coaches give you honest answers. They were totally honest. ... I built a lot of great relationships when I was there talking to the players. I asked some of them what they liked and didn't like or if they thought anything needs to change, and they said they love everything about being there."
Vanderdoes has set up two other official visits: to California for the weekend of Dec. 7 and USC on Jan. 18. His two other trips will likely be to Washington and LSU, though dates have not been scheduled yet.
"I'm still taking all of my visits," Vanderdoes said. "I'll be visiting Washington, but not exactly sure when. Coach (Tosh) Lupoi will be coming to the house on Wednesday, so we'll figure it out then. I'll be visiting LSU in late December or early January. USC is coming by Thursday (for an in-home visit)."
Meanwhile, Vanderdoes continues to prepare for the Jan. 5 U.S. Army All-American Game, where he'll be joined by 11 other USC commits.
"That game is huge for me," Vanderdoes said. "I've got to come out, perform and not get embarrassed. It's not like high school football where you can just beat people up. It's the best of the best, so you've got to be at the peak of your performance. It's going to be huge that I'm ready for it."
11hDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff