Brian Kelly put an exclamation mark on his 2013 signing class, as five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes signs with Notre Dame to cap National Signing Day 2013.
Vanderdoes gives the Fighting Irish a signing class that actually outscores Ohio State, Florida and yes, even Alabama in average star rating. He’s the fourth five-star signee Kelly inked, joining Greg Bryant, Max Redfield and Jaylon Smith. Vanderdoes is also the second who flipped his commitment from Notre Dame rival USC. Redfield was originally a Trojan pledge.
The tackle from Placer High (Auburn, Calif.) will get the opportunity to cut his collegiate teeth behind Louis Nix III, Notre Dame’s star nose tackle. Vanderdoes could conceivably move to defensive end in Bob Diaco’s 3-4 system, though providing depth in the interior seems like a more likely prospect for 2013.
With this class, it really addresses some of our depth needs across the board,” Kelly said. “We played the national championship game under 85 scholarships. We did not have 85 scholarship players at that time. We had some depth issues. We’ve addressed the depth issue in Year 3.
Notre Dame’s class is star-studded with Vanderdoes’ addition, and precisely what Kelly needs to turn the Fighting Irish into a legitimate BCS championship contender. Despite reaching the title game this past season, Alabama’s thorough beating of the Irish last month sent a resounding message that UND will need to recruit at the same level as the SEC powerhouse.
That’s precisely what Kelly and staff accomplished with this staff. With four five-star prospects, the Irish match Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide and were actually one decommitment from acquiring a quintet of five-star signings. Linebacker Alex Anazolne backed out when rumors of Kelly interviewing with the Philadelphia Eagles surfaced last month. Anzalone, a former Ohio State and Penn State prospect, ended up with Will Muschamp’s impressive Florida Gators signing class.
The only team with a higher average star rating than Notre Dame is USC, though the Trojans suffered a rash of decommitments. In addition to Vanderdoes and Redfield, Lane Kiffin saw four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts ink with crosstown rival UCLA. Five-star running back Jalen Ramsey opted for Florida State earlier this week.