"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 on his Twitter account. "It's been an honor to represent this University both on and off the field. Thank you to each and every one of my teammates and my outstanding coaching staff that has helped me and will continue to help make my dream of pursuing a NFL career possible. Once a Bruin, always a Bruin."
The 6-foot-3, 325-pound defensive lineman went into his redshirt junior season with plenty of hype, with some projecting him to be a first-round selection in the draft next April. He was credited with 27 total tackles, including 1 1/2 for a loss, as he fought through constant double-teams throughout the year.
In a tradition that honors the seniors, Vanderdoes was carried off the practice field by two teammates last week following the team's final workout of the year. He also had posed with other seniors in team photos and taken part in Senior Night activities before the team's final home game.
Vanderdoes suffered a left knee injury in the 2015 season opener and was forced to miss the remainder of the year. He tweaked his right knee in Week 2 this past season and limped off the field, but didn't miss any action after that game. Vanderdoes had perhaps his best performance of 2016 against rival USC two weeks ago, totaling five solo tackles.
Vanderdoes, a former five-star prospect out of Auburn (Calif.) Placer, was the nation's No. 2-rated defensive tackle in the 2013 class. He was a First-Team Freshman All-American that fall and followed it up with a stellar sophomore season in which he recorded 50 tackles.
The Bruins have had three defensive products drafted in the first round the last four years -- Datone Jones (2013), Anthony Barr (2014) and Kenny Clark (2016) -- and have another shot next year with Vanderdoes and the fast-rising Takkarist McKinley.