Four-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes has decommited from USC, and while this is a huge loss for the Trojans, it could end up being a window of opportunity for Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Vanderdoes has an official visit to Notre Dame scheduled for January 12, and now that his recruiting process has opened back up, this could end up being huge for Notre Dame.
First, here's the news of the decommitment via Gerard Martinez of USCFootball.com:
Placer (Calif.) four-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes de-committed from USC three weeks ago, but word of his intentions to re-open his recruitment went public Thursday night.
It's certainly a big recruiting loss for Lane Kiffin and his staff, as Vanderdoes projects to be very good, but Eddie's father had this to say about USC, even after the decommitment, per Martinez's report:
"The main thing he wants to make perfectly clear is that USC is still heavily considered," said his father. "From the outside looking in, it may seem odd and people won't understand it."
"USC has done nothing wrong. The recruiting process has been fine and they didn't do anything to drive him away. He let the staff know he was de-committing three weeks ago, so they do know. He is considering other schools and held onto [de-committing] because this was a lot to take in and it wasn't an easy thing to do.
Those must be encouraging words for fans of USC football, but one can't help but notice that the visit to Notre Dame is looming large on the schedule. The Fighting Irish boast arguably the hottest program in college football right now, and there's a very real chance that by the time Vanderdoes visits, Notre Dame could be the National Champion.
Just think how big of a draw that would be for the 4-star defensive tackle...
What are the odds that Notre Dame is able to land the now former USC commitment? I'd put them at above average to very good.
The one thing USC fans can hold onto is the encouraging statements about the program via Vanderdoes' father. It's rather obvious that the Trojans are still a major player in this race, and that's really the only thing keeping me from saying that the Fighting Irish have the best shot to land his commitment. USC will also get the last visit from Vanderdoes, according to his father via Martinez's article. (Note: UCLA and Washington are also in the running, per Martinez's report.)
That said, it's hard to ignore the situation Notre Dame can offer Vanderdoes. Kelly has done an excellent job recruiting this year, so it's not unrealistic to say that the Fighting Irish will continue to be a National Championship contender. He's building a strong program, and Vanderdoes could be a huge part of that.
As far as the defense is concerned, stud defensive tackle Louis Nix will be back for another season, but eventually he will go to the NFL (he's too good not to). Finding a suitable replacement for Nix will be hard, but Notre Dame could offer Vanderdoes that opportunity.
@akonsports Well he's 6-1, 310 and very quick. I like him slightly better as an undersized three, but nose would suit, too.— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) December 28, 2012
The move to nose would be a transition, but it's one that Vanderdoes is fully capable of, so that's another check in the Notre Dame column.
Overall, the Fighting Irish have to be feeling pretty good about their chances.
That visit is going to be very important for the Irish, but the odds of landing Vanderdoes are in their favor now that he has decommited from USC.