Eddie Vanderdoes said he went with his instincts, heart and gut. They led him to USC.
The nationally recruited football lineman from Placer High School informed USC coaches late Wednesday night of his verbal commitment to play for the Trojans on scholarship starting in the fall of 2013. A 6-foot-4, 301-pound senior defensive end-tackle, Vanderdoes is a 5-star recruit who has scholarship offers from programs such as Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Penn State, Michigan and throughout the Pacific-12 Conference.
The Sac-Joaquin Section's top recruit, Vanderdoes is known for his burst off the line of scrimmage, athleticism and strong academics.
"He's the total package, a humble guy who our younger guys can look up to," Placer coach Joey Montoya said. "If I ever get a guy even close to a kid like Eddie the rest of my career, I'd be very lucky. Really special."
Although Vanderdoes can change his mind before February's national signing date, he is relieved to have made the decision.
"I feel great about this. Great coaches at USC, great people," he said. "Can't beat the academics, the football tradition, the weather. It's a life decision. It's not just a four-year decision. It's huge, crucial, and it's great. USC is setting me up for the rest of my career and life."
Vanderdoes said he can exhale from the recruiting madness that includes calls, mail and campus visits. Schools still can actively recruit Vanderdoes, but he said he has been sure of his USC commitment for nearly a month. He said he also is relieved for his parents, Eddie and Behia.
"Oh yes, it's really nice to have this done," Vanderdoes said. "I can sleep at night again, and that's a plus. I know it's not officially over until I sign, but it's USC for me. It's done. I've got a big monkey off my back.
"Now I can just concentrate on school and football and not have to come home at 9 at night and return a lot of coaches' calls."
USC previously has landed Sacramento-area football talent.
Artimus "T" Parker of Sacramento High was an All-America safety for the 1972 national championship team that still is considered one of the greatest teams in Trojans history.
More recently, Armond Armstead of Pleasant Grove excelled on the Trojans' defensive line and now plays in the Canadian Football League.