UCLA football’s Eddie Vanderdoes ready for breakout year after injury

Eddie Vanderdoes celebrates a sack against Tyrone Swoopes #18 of the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Eddie Vanderdoes celebrates a sack against Tyrone Swoopes at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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.”

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Eddie Vanderdoes named to Outland, Nagurski Trophy watch lists

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is out for the season after tearing his ACL in UCLA's 2015 season opener vs. Virginia. (Rachel Luna/Staff)

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes was named to two watch lists on Thursday. (Rachel Luna/Staff)

Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List on Thursday. He is returning from a season-ending ACL tear suffered in the 2015 season opener. Earlier this week, Vanderdoes was made the Bednarik Award Watch List.

Offensive tackle Conor McDermott was also named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which honors the nation’s top interior lineman (on offense or defense), as voted on by the Football Writers Association of America. The senior returned for his final year of eligibility with the Bruins after starting 12 games last season.

Defensive back Fabian Moreau was also watch-listed for the Nagurski Award, which is awarded by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the best defensive player in the nation. Like Vanderdoes, Moreau is also returning from injury. He broke his foot three games into the season, but was a team co-captain.

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Josh Rosen, Eddie Vanderdoes named to pair of watch lists

Josh Rosen talks to yhe media during spring camp. Photo by Brad Graverson // Daily Breeze

Josh Rosen talks to the media during spring camp. Photo by Brad Graverson // Daily Breeze

Quarterback Josh Rosen was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List on Tuesday while defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List.

The Maxwell Award is given to the top college football player in the nation by the Maxwell Football Club, and the Bednarik Award goes to the top defensive player in the country.

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UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenny Clark among nation’s top linemen

UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark were both named one of the nation’s top-five linemen, according to a new ranking created by graduate students at the University of Alabama.

The Schneider Scale is a collaboration with the Football Writers Association of America and meant to serve as a guide in voting for the Outland Trophy — given each year to the nation’s best offensive linemen or interior defensive linemen. Accounting for both team and individual statistics, it scored Vanderdoes and Clark at 155.0 and 147.5 points, good for second and fifth in the country after Week 1.

The ranking only underscores the impact that Vanderdoes’ injury will have on the Bruins. Continue reading

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UCLA will use two players to replace Eddie Vanderdoes

UCLA defensive lineman Matt Dickerson (99) will be one of the two players expected to try and replace Eddie Vanderdoes. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA defensive lineman Matt Dickerson (99) will be one of the two players expected to try and replace Eddie Vanderdoes. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

After losing defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL, UCLA will attempt to fill the void with two players: redshirt junior Eli Ankou and sophomore Matt Dickerson.

“It’s going to be hard to replace Eddie,” said defensive line coach Angus McClure. “Obviously we all know the type of player he is, the type of force he can be.”

Still, McClure expressed a bit of optimism. Ankou, he said, is one of the stronger guys on the team, and played well in his 20-plus snaps in UCLA’s 34-16 win over Virginia on Saturday. And whereas Ankou is more a of a “bull-rusher,” Dickerson will provide more speed, length and pass rush to the position. Continue reading

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