Recruiting never stops, and on the West Coast this season, it starts with Eddie Vanderdoes

The entire PAC-12, most of the SEC and the Top 25 want Eddie Vanderdoes.

He’s a 6-4, 285-pound defensive lineman with an exceptional motor and an explosive first step. He plays smart and quick, and everybody from Nick Saban to Bob Stoops to Chip Kelly has offered him a scholarship and invited him to summer camp, junior day and anything else the NCAA will allow.

One of the top five defensive linemen in the country this year, he’s a franchise talent and a future star, with the work habits and size to become a tremendous college football player. The hype and hysteria are only beginning, and Cal and Oregon lead for his services. Everyone will make their pitch between now and Signing Day. From Placer High School in Auburn, California, Vanderdoes is the key to a successful recruiting class for Oregon in 2013. He plays a vital position where talent like his is rare, scarce, and fiercely sought after. The Ducks already have a verbal commitment from 5-star running back Thomas Tyner, they’re competing hard for elite outside linebacker Michael Hutchings, but Vanderdoes is the linchpin, anchor and focal point, because if you can land the dominating defensive linemen the entire defense suddenly becomes a more forceful and intimidating unit on the field.

He’s that good.

Coming from a close-knit family and a football-crazy community, E.V.’s not likely to rush his decision or succumb to the pressures and distractions of a fierce recruiting battle.

 

Scouting Notes:

:09 lines up inside at tackle and outquicks the pass blocking, getting to the quarterback untouched, corrals him and slaps him down like a tackling dummy. Quick, powerful, strong. Good agility and burst. Doesn’t overrun his target, good body control and desire.

:36 Swim move from strong side defensive end, and he’s around the offensive tackle in a hurry. Looks like Deacon Jones of the Fearsome Foursome, just overpowers a lot of opponents. Intimidating and fierce. A game-changing defensive linemen with a flair for the big play. Very disruptive. Plays with an attitude that can inspire a defense.

:50 inside at strong side defensive tackle, and you have to like the flexibility and coachability. You could hide him, flex him, move him around, giving the offensive line even more to think about. In D-1 college football if you’re thinking you’re too slow. Absorbs a blow, sheds a block and blows up a running play. Scary strong, and tough-minded. Has a relentless every-down motor and just the right amount of meanness.

1:00 Great control on the outside pass rush. A quick route where he doesn’t have time to get to the quarterback, so he intelligently sets his feet and disrupts the throw. Really like the awareness and determination to win the play. Excellent competitive instincts. His teammates know he’ll battle for them every play.

1:17 Quarterback rolls right to escape the pressure but it doesn’t work as EV chases him down easily. Terrific first step and exceptional at getting off blocks. He will play very early in college as he has a mature body in these highlights, from his JUNIOR year of high school. Obviously gifted, and a kid whose already dialed-in in terms of his training, conditioning and work habits.

1:32 Unblockable at times, he delivers a blow to the quarterback, clean, forceful and legal, helmet and shoulders right to the chest. Discourages and wears down an opponent with an intimidating, physical style that’s disciplined and within the rules, a great combination of aggressiveness and football intelligence. A hitter but not a thug. Won’t hurt his team with a stupid penalty. Quarterbacks will take hits in the first half that will discourage them in the fourth quarter.

1:46 3-man line, and Vanderdoes is at the nose. Again the terrific versatility and understanding of what his defense is trying to do. Shift to a 4-man line and he goes to strong DT. He shoots a gap and no one lays a hand on him as he laser beams straight to the quarterback in the end zone. The kind of player who can disrupt a game from the defensive line position, better than his four-star rating in that he combines rare talent with rare football character. He wants to be great, plays hard and hits. Likely to become a 4-year college starter (if he doesn’t leave early) who contributes right away and solidifies a starting position in the second half of his first year. Normally I don’t make projections like that; I just think he’s that good. Arik Armstead was a fabulous talent coming out of high school, but this kid shows way more in these highlights. Uses his hands really well, prodigiously strong.

2:02 3 down linemen and the defense shows an overload weakside blitz, two standup defenders crowding the line, EV strongside/shortside defensive end inside two linebackers, opposite the tackle, the offense in a tight set with two backs, quarterback taking a shotgun snap. Vanderdoes stuns his opponent with a strength move, a blast right to his pads that gets his upright and immediately overpowered, shoots through him direct to the passer. The quarterback tries to buy time moving right but Vanderdoes envelopes him. He plays big. Uses his size and strength beautifully and gets in close on the qb, doesn’t give him any time or opportunity to slip away. Very quick for a big man, able to neutralize and contain smaller and presumably more athletic players. Dictates the flow of the play. Wonderful leverage. Decisive. Good recognition, fast reactions. Will have snaps he simply blows things up, which destroys the timing of an offense. The spread teams on the Oregon schedule will have an awful time contending with his quickness and ability.

2:14 3 down, 1 up, the hybrid look Oregon uses, and #47 is opposite the weakside offensive tackle in a slot right, Pistol formation, that sets up looking like a run to the right. The tackle pulls; it looks like they try to read him but that’s useless, he penetrates quickly and snares the tailback.

2:28 Opponent gets off a good run, but Vanderdoes shows the great motor by chasing the play 25 yards downfield, and he runs very well. Looks comfortable and athletic in pursuit, no lumbering giant.

2:44 At nose, home team deep in their own end. Gets through the blocking quickly again and looks nimble combining with another defender for the sack close to the goal line. Very good feet, and excellent teamwork working to close off all angles of escape.

2:57 4th and two at the defense’s 30, everybody in tight, quarterback under center with a full house backfield. The line digs in for a plunge, #47 at strong defensive tackle. They run straight at him, he blasts through another half-hearted block (tough to fully commit to blocking a guy who’s beating you play after play) and blows up the ball carrier at the point of the exchange. The offensive coordinator probably destroyed a clipboard on this play, and it’s just as well. Should have faked the dive, rolled left and thrown a bootleg pass. Or forfeited. That’d  have saved a lot of time. –A great individual play that inspires a defense and gives motivation and confidence to the whole unit. He’s a player who can do that throughout a season.

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