The chase for the nation’s top defensive tackle, Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Ca. Placer) will reach the finish line when Vanderdoes makes the announcement where he will be playing college football in 2013, but choosing Notre Dame would be the wrong move.
Vanderdoes was at Alabama this past weekend and judging from his tweets he sent out during the visit, looked like he was enjoying the southern hospitality, the 6-3 300-pound defensive lineman hasn’t experienced before.
The former USC commit lists Notre Dame as a finalist and enjoyed his visit there, but how can Vanderdoes pick the Fighting Irish over the team that trounced them in the Discover BCS National Championship Game and leave his home state for a team that has a coach that may still want to test the NFL waters?
Vanderdoes has exceptional power and strength but his first-step quickness and agility separate him from the rest of the pack of defensive tackles in the 2013 class. Some talent evaluators believe that Vanderdoes can even play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme which would make him a perfect fit in Kirby Smart and Nick Saban’s defense at Alabama.
If Vanderdoes has aspirations of playing in the NFL, then Alabama is the place to be. I can understand if he wants to stay close to home and go to UCLA, and play for Jim Mora who is putting together a pretty good recruiting class, but Notre Dame just seems like an odd fit despite a national title appearance.
UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure and Vanderdoes have a great relationship and I haven’t heard of any special bonds he has at Notre Dame, not to suggest that he doesn’t have any, it’s just that they haven’t been as documented as this one has.
Notre Dame has a top five class and certainly would be bolstered with the addition of Vanderdoes, and have a greater need for him than Alabama, but he’s in for a culture shock if he’s going to make South Bend his home for the next four years. And I think the Notre Dame fans must be praying to Touchdown Jesus right now.
But the hardest thing for him may be saying no to Nick Saban and his four championship rings and the warm climate he’s used to in California for the chilly Midwest.
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