“The thing that people get mixed up with the 3-4 scheme is that there are diffeent kinds.” In evaluating Oregon’s scheme, Vanderdoes felt that they lack a pass rush from their interior linemen as they run a two-gap hybrid 3-4 defense. “I like to attack. UCLA allows you to attack, and to stunt a lot so the o-linemen don’t know where you’re at. It allows you to move around and that’s what I really like. It’s not just sit back and let the linebackers make all the plays.”
Not only that, but many NFL teams deploy three down linemen, and Vanderdoes is a typical five-technique. With his size, build, and athleticism, he could prepare for being a professional quality defensive end in a 3-4 system while at UCLA.
Aside from playing time and scheme, Vanderdoes will pledge his allegiance to a program that feels more like a family to him that just a university.
“That’s like sixty percent of my decision,” he said. “I don’t wanna go to a program where I don’t like any of the guys; that’s a bad four years. You wanna be around people that you want toplay for and that you trust.”
Based on that, it would seem that USC has the advantage because he had been committed for so long, but Vanderdoes keeps in contact with a number of commits at other programs as well as uncommitted recruits. He has ties at all four schools and can see himself involved in any of the programs, which is why he says they all rank equally to him at this time.
What could ultimately give a program more clout over the others though is the coach that would be shaping him for his future. Vanderdoes considers USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron one of the best in the game, and he is quite fond of Washington’s Tosh Lupoi, who has made a name for himself as an incredible recruiter. Lupoi expressed to him that the Huskies will only have six scholarship linemen in 2013, so he would be able to compete and possibly start immediately. He also spoke extensively of UCLA’s Angus McClure and Notre Dame’s Mike Elson, making it clear that the person who he learns under is equally as important as the university itself.
Even though USC struggled and greatly underachieved this season, Vanderdoes maintains that has nothing to do with his reason to de-commit.
“The reason USC struggled was the lack of depth. They didn’t have a solid rotation. When you’re playing the same guys all game at a high level, you’re not gonna perform your best.”
That being the case, he is not yet ready to give up on USC, nor are the coaches turning their backs on him. Coach Orgeron has said that will be at Vanderdoes’ school every day that he is allowed to be there, and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton told Vanderdoes he plans to write him various letters as to why USC needs him and why he wants to be a part of the Trojan family. On his official visit, Helton says they will go over said letters.
“It makes me feel great that they’re not giving up on me. They promised me they would honor my scholarship up until Signing Day. If I go back, that’s the way it is, but I have until the last day to decide.”
And decide he will. This process has taken its toll on Vanderdoes, who said he often is up all night thinking about his future and the choice he has to make. It’s stressful and the pressure can be exhausting, so more than anything he is looking forward to it being over.
For real this time.
Vanderdoes stresses that he will not make another public decision regarding his commitment until Feb. 6, National Signing Day. On that date, he and hundreds of other college football players will sign on the dotted line with a particular program.
Until then Vanderdoes will continue to weigh his options, and decide whether he wants to Fight On! or Play Like A Champion Today, whether he wants to start an 8-clap or give Coach Sarkisian a reason to tweet “Woof!”.