UCLA redshirt junior defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes announced Monday on Twitter that he will forgo his final season of eligibility and make himself available for the NFL draft.
“I would like to thank everyone affiliated with UCLA Athletics, the UCLA football program and UCLA Academics for allowing me to progress where I am at today,” Vanderdoes wrote. “It’s been a honor to represent this University both on and off the field.”
Vanderdoes’ departure further depletes a defensive line that already was losing senior defensive end Takkarist McKinley and defensive tackle Eli Ankou. The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Vanderdoes finished the season with 29 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, modest statistics that were largely the result of continual double teams.
Vanderdoes was easily the Bruins’ best run defender and is the second interior defensive lineman in as many years to depart UCLA with remaining eligibility after Kenny Clark left after last season.
One NFL scout recently told The Times that he saw Vanderdoes as “more of a run player than a pass rusher, but he’s kind of sneaky. He knows how to slip off guys. If he’s close, he sniffs it and he’ll come off a block to make a play.”
Vanderdoes sat out almost all of the 2015 season after suffering a serious knee injury in the opener against Virginia. He played in every game this season despite an ankle injury that limited him in practice toward the end of the season.
Vanderdoes was widely hailed as one of UCLA’s leaders, but by mid-October, when the losses started to mount during what would become the Bruins’ worst season since 2010, he acknowledged that the defeats were wearing on him.
“When you get into the locker room, emotions are flying everywhere,” he said after a loss to Washington State. “There’s no kumbaya, like, we’re good, we’re fine. People are mad in the locker room. It’s never fun to lose. It should be hostile in the locker room.”
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch