"I called up Coach Helton and told him over the phone I wanted to open things up," Vanderdoes said. "Then I had a home visit with Coach Helton and Coach Orgeron and told them in person. This was probably the week before I took my visit to Washington. It definitely wasn't an easy decision for me but I felt like it was the best thing for me to do.
"They were great about it but made sure I knew how badly they still wanted me to be a Trojan. They said they're still going to come after me harder than ever and I respect that and have no problem with. I have a great relationship with Coach Orgeron and he's a great DL coach and I really like Coach Helton too.
"It was nothing against USC and I told them that. USC is still high on my list and I still plan to take my official visit there (Jan. 18). I just felt like I had some other great options and I wanted to give them a fair look. I don't think you can really do that if you're still committed to a school. Right now, I'm basically back to square one in the sense that I don't have anyone leading and all the schools I'm looking at are all even."
Vanderdoes said he wanted to announce his de-commitment now, prior to the Army All-American game, so he didn't feel like he had to lie when asked about his commitment.
"I know there's going to be a ton of media at the Army practices," Vanderdoes said. "I've been de-committed for three weeks and I don't like having to tell people I'm committed when I'm not. I know putting this out there will probably make it crazy for me at the game with everyone wanting to know why and what happened and players hitting me up but I would rather deal with that than having to lie to people and say how strong my commitment is when I'm not even committed anymore.
"Like I said before, USC did nothing wrong, this isn't about them. UCLA, Washington and Notre Dame came in for home visits and gave me a lot to think about. I had a great official trip to UCLA and to Washington and I feel I owe it to myself to take a step back and make sure I'm doing the right thing. I'm going to visit Notre Dame but still need to set the date and then I plan to announce my final decision on Signing Day."
So with six weeks to go before Signing Day, what is Vanderdoes now looking for in a college?
"I'm looking at all the same things I was looking at before I committed," Vanderdoes said. "A place where I'm comfortable with the school, football wise, socially and academically. A place where I like the coaches and the defensive system, the opportunities the school can provide after I'm done playing football and a program that I think is going in the right direction and has a chance to compete for championships.
"USC has all those qualities but the others do as well so I'm trying to find the best overall fit. I always pride myself on being a man of my word so this was very hard to do for me but as we got closer to Signing Day, I knew I wanted to take a step back and re-evaluate everything to make sure I was doing the right thing. This isn't just a four year decision for me, it's a life decision and I want to be 100% sure on it and won't have any regrets."