Placer's Eddie Vanderdoes makes it Notre Dame

Senior football star picks the Fighting Irish
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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UPDATE 7:33 p.m. 2/6: 

Eddie Vanderdoes made the right decision — he made the one he feels is best for him.

And come next fall the Placer High School football star will be taking his talents to South Bend.

Vanderdoes announced his much-anticipated decision on which college he will attend on scholarship in the fall and he chose Notre Dame over Alabama, Southern California, UCLA and Washington Wednesday night at the Placer High auditorium.

“You can’t go wrong there,” Vanderdoes said of the Catholic school in Indiana, which lost the national title game last season to Alabama. “Great academics, great football program and the defensive line there, I can really come in and help right away. That really sticks out to me. I love the coaches there and all that and the area and I love South Bend.”

Vanderdoes, who had been hounded by media, fans and coaches for weeks, had trouble dozing off while weighing his options in recent days leading up to National Signing Day.

“I’m relieved,” he said of the process that finally came to an end when he made up his mind last night at 9:30. “It’s a big relief. I’m finally done. I can go home and go to sleep.”

His fellow classmates, who also signed their letters of intent Wednesday, had already made up their minds weeks and months ago.

Hillmen defensive lineman/tight end Stone Sander will be making a short trek down Interstate 80 next year to attend Sacramento State. Placer quarterback Peter Denham is heading to Northern Arizona, while golfer Hannah Gregg will hit the links at Sonoma State.

All of the students seemed to enjoy the occasion of signing together.

“It was good,” Sander said. “It was fun to have the media out here and see Eddie’s big choice. I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to have the opportunity to go and play at the next level.”

Said Denham: “It was awesome. It was a huge honor to be a part of it and really exciting.”

After the 18-minute event was over, Gregg realized she didn’t get a chance to give thanks to people who helped her get where she is today.

“I want to thank (coaches) Carol and Greg (French) and my parents for paying so much money for me to play golf,” Gregg said. “And everyone who has supported me, the Ridge, Auburn Valley. Thanks everyone for your support.”

Vanderdoes’ college choice drew a large round of applause from a crowd of more than 100, which also featured media from the print, online and television realms.

Perhaps one of the people happiest with Vanderdoes’ decision might be Mike Sabins, a Placer assistant football coach who happens to be a huge Irish fan.

Asked if he’s going to be an even bigger fanatic of the team now, Sabins said, “I don’t know. I’ve been a Notre Dame fan since I was a little kid but this is kind of the cherry on top of a sundae. It’s going to be great to be able to watch it and have something invested in it.”

Sander, who was surprised by Vanderdoes’ selection, said he’ll kind of have to root for the Irish next season.

“But Sac State comes first,” he said with a smirk.  

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel