From the second that one-time USC commit Eddie Vanderdoes opened up the whole recruiting process, UCLA did its best to lure the senior from Auburn (CA) Placer toward Westwood. Then again, plenty of programs from all over the country hoped to do the same thing.
With rumors running rampant about the final destination of the high-profile recruit during Wednesday's National Signing Day, the 6-foot-2 and 310-pound high-profile defensive tackle finally silenced all of the speculation and decided Notre Dame was the best fit for him.
As it turned out, the Bruins missed the boat on Vanderdoes. He would undoubtedly have been the final piece of the puzzle for coach Jim Mora & Co. In the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Vanderdoes is the nation's No. 1 player at his position and No. 6 player overall.
Nevertheless, UCLA was among his apparent final list of schools, along with the likes of powerhouse programs such as USC, Alabama and Notre Dame.
The Trojans, of course, had the early lead for Vanderdoes. He received his offer in May and decided to commit to USC in July. A change of heart followed in December. After exploring some of his options, Vanderdoes officially visited the Trojans on Jan 17.
In between, the Bruins attempted to lure him to Westwood. Vanderdoes took an official visit to UCLA on Nov. 23 and signs pointed to the trip going well.
Notre Dame was also among his final choices of schools and the Fighting Irish made a late run at him. Vanderdoes visited South Bend on Jan. 25. Prior to that, Notre Dame assistants Mike Elston and Mike Denbrock traveled West to visit with him on Jan. 14.
Alabama was also in the mix, and similar to Notre Dame, the Crimson Tide attempted to give him their best sales pitch down the stretch. Vanderdoes visited Tuscaloosa on Feb. 1. A few days beforehand, on Jan. 29, Alabama assistant Chris Rumph visited him.
Try as they might, the Bruins could not convince Vanderdoes to stay close to home for his college ball. They were close. Not nearly close enough, however.
Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky
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