Eddie Vanderdoes ready to ‘hit some heads’ after dealing with ‘stressful’ recruiting process

Placer stars Sander, Vanderdoes to compete at Optimist game in Loomis Saturday
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Eddie Vanderdoes has been a little overwhelmed with the college football recruiting process as of late.

The Placer High School senior has been busy going on official visits and hosting coaches, including UCLA’s Jim Mora, at home for in-house visits the past few weeks since the Hillmen’s season came to an abrupt end.

On Saturday, Vanderdoes and fellow teammate Stone Sander are set to return to the gridiron when the Placer defensive linemen standouts take part in the 56th Optimist All-Star Football Classic Saturday at Golden Eagle Stadium in Loomis.

“The process has been very stressful,” Vanderdoes said of being recruited. “It’s nice to get back on the field and hit some heads.”

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Vanderdoes, who verbally committed to Southern California in July, has recently taken official visits to UCLA and the University of Washington.

Just last weekend he was up in Seattle.

“It was amazing,” Vanderdoes said of his visit with the Huskies. “It was a lot of fun — an eye-opening experience.”

Vanderdoes will also be taking visits soon to Notre Dame and USC.

Time will tell whether Vanderdoes signs his National Letter of Intent with the Bruins, Fighting Irish, Huskies, or Trojans next year.

For now, he is excited to be playing an actual game.

“It’s a relief to get back out there for football,” said Vanderdoes, who has been lifting weights and running 40s to stay in shape. “It’s a game to get back into it for the Army game.”

Earlier in the year Vanderdoes was also selected to play against the best of the best in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in San Antonio.

For most players in the Optimist game, this will be the final football game they ever compete in — unless they’ll be continuing their career in college like Sander.

Sander, who verbally committed to Sacramento State earlier in the year, is also looking forward to Saturday’s game at Del Oro High School, which kicks off at noon.

“It feels good to be out there for one more high school game,” said Sander, who plays tight end but will only be used for defense and special teams at the all-star game. “Getting back from a dead period, it’s a little rusty. But it feels good to be hitting and competing again.”

Sander, who's been working hard in the gym since his football season ended in mid November, is glad a Placer teammate has been by his side while his North squad practiced at Grant High all week for the upcoming contest.

“Having one of my brothers down there is huge,” Sander said of Vanderdoes’ company. “We stay together and help each other.”

Placer’s Isaiah Pineiro, a safety who recorded nine interceptions throughout the Hillmen’s 11-1 campaign, was also selected to the North team. Pineiro, however, is a basketball star for the Hillmen and can’t risk getting injured or missing out on this weekend’s four-day Rail City Classic in Nevada.

“I felt honored because I’ve only been playing football for four years,” said Pineiro, who seems to record a double-double nearly every night on the court.  “It felt good. I would have liked to have played. It’d be fun to play another game of football, but on to basketball now with my basketball team.”

Said Sander: “I wish we could have had another guy out here, but he’s got other commitments.”

Speaking of having an extra man on the field, Sander was asked if he hopes a fan doesn’t run out on the field at the Optimist game a la this year’s Placer-Colfax contest where a shirtless man came out onto the field and was taken down with a bone-rattling tackle by his father and YouTube sensation Troy Minton-Sander. 

“Let’s hope someone does run out,” Sander said, laughing.

2013 Hillmen football season

In other Hillmen football news, coach Joey Montoya told the Journal on Tuesday that the Hillmen are looking for a “Zero Week” opponent and are set to play Central Catholic, Yuba City and Woodcreek again this year for their preseason slate. Montoya also said Placer will make a trek to Idaho for a non-league bout. 


Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel