After Tuesday's first practice of bowl week, he provided more clarification into his decision. "With five weeks left and signing day right around the corner," he explained, "I just didn't feel like I was 100% and that's wrong to do to USC and wrong to do to my family and I didn't want to end up being the guy the day before signing day that flips."
Instead, Vanderdoes' recruitment is once again open as he continues to take official visits and re-evaluates where he fits in with five different programs including USC, UCLA, Washington, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
"When I visit other schools, a lot of the reasons why I committed to SC, I see those in other schools too," he said.
He's taken official visits this fall to UCLA and Washington. Both trips he says left lasting impressions, "They were real eye-opening," Vanderdoes said.
"At UCLA I spent a lot of time with the coaches and players, I got a lot out of it and all of the questions I needed out of it," he said.
The biggest surprise of his first two officials came in the Pacific Northwest. "Before I was considering Washington," he explained, "but I wasn't heavy." After a trip to the Emerald City the outlook changed. "Once I went up there I was like 'wow, I like Washington a lot'." Part of his draw to the Huskies is the opportunity to play right away.
National Signing Day is February 6th, a deadline that changes the way coaches approach recruits, "That's when the coaches actually start talking to you and being truthful," he said.
"[USC] has done nothing wrong, I just need to take my time."
It seems like other programs are just starting to do things right. The Vanderdoes home has seen a revolving door of in-home visits, highlighted by an entire staff who made the trip from southern California to northern California.
"UCLA, they brought the whole staff," he said. "That was a great in-home visit."
With two official visits down and three to go, Vanderdoes' mind is anything but made up. A Notre Dame degree "speaks for itself," he said, "You're set for life there," adding the program is "back on the rise."
"'Bama? You want to go to the NFL? You go to 'Bama." he said. "It's an SEC school, you're playing against the best of the best every single week." He's even perfected the classic "Roll Tide".
As for his original commitment, USC, well the Trojans aren't out of the picture yet. But Vanderdoes knows the race for his talents is just starting to heat up and the stakes are about to get a bit higher.
"A week or two before signing day, that's when they bring in the head coaches," he explained. "So that will be interesting.
Indeed it will. Lane Kiffin, Jim Mora, Steve Sarkisian, Brian Kelly, and Nick Saban. Who wouldn't want those guys knocking on their front door?