UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes finished the team’s season opener last year with a team-high eight tackles. A few days later, he found out he did it on a torn ACL.
The redshirt junior is returning from a season-ending injury with big expectations. He was named to three different watch lists for major college football awards and checked in at No. 75 on Sports Illustrated’s top 100 players in college football.
He spoke with ESPN about what exactly happened when he blew out his knee (no, he didn’t get hurt celebrating), the hardest thing about being hurt and how the experience has prepared him for his comeback.
“I’ve grown in many different ways,” Vanderdoes told ESPN. “It’s humbling, I’ll tell you that much. It’s humbling knowing this can end at any time, any second, any play. Regardless of how hard you work, it can end just like that. It makes you wiser. I’d say it’s made me more hungry to be a better football player. It’s given me a whole different fire, a whole different drive.”
- ICYMI: UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley denied allegations that he knew about Jerry Sandusky‘s sexual abuse toward boys in the 1980s and ’90s.
- Josh Rosen (No. 11) and Conor McDermott (No. 83) are also in SI’s top 100 players in college football.
- Athlon Sports explores the idea of a Pac-12 North vs. South All-Star game and names Vanderdoes, Rosen, McDermott and defensive back Randall Goforth to the hypothetical South All-Star team.