Vanderdoes embraces recruiting ride

Placer big man taking it all in as one of the top recruits in the country for 2013
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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As a 6-3, 295-pound junior in high school, it’s never easy for Eddie Vanderdoes to hide. Now that he’s one of the most prized college football recruits in the nation, the letters, e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets and hand-written notes find him wherever he goes. The third generation Placer High athlete is quickly becoming the most sought after Hillman to ever put on shoulder pads. Vanderdoes had 59 tackles and eight sacks last season despite facing double-teams every game and many teams keeping the ball as far away from him as possible. He received his first scholarship offer last summer from San Jose State, months before the start of his junior year. Since then several major schools on the west coast have followed suit. Football powers from around the country are starting to join the recruiting race, including national champion Alabama. Vanderdoes has trips to USC and Cal for their respective “Junior Days” later this month. National power Oregon is now in hot pursuit and four other Pac-12 schools – UCLA, Washington, Cal and Oregon State have already offered full-ride scholarships. The easy-going big man is taking it all in, enjoying the process and not letting the pressure of the big decision weigh on him. “I’m keeping my options open,” he said. “It’s a fun process. ” Vanderdoes got to know Pleasant Grove star Arik Armstead on the recruiting trail. The two met on a visit to Cal and became fast friends. Vanderdoes was on hand last weekend in Sacramento when Armstead — one of the top recruits in the country in the 2012 class — decided on Oregon. The Placer star saw the toll the recruiting process took on his friend, but he said right now it’s a fun ride. “It’s more of just getting the recognition and enjoying it,” Vanderdoes said. “It’s a really good feeling to know people who don’t even know me want me to come to their school.” The recruiting process is just getting started for the class of 2013. Coaches aren’t allowed to call recruits, but Vanderdoes is urged to call them, often. “They message me on Facebook,” Vanderdoes said. “They like me to call once a week to check in. Now that the 2012 class is committed, it’s getting busy.” The frenzy will kick into high gear when the college prospects head to camps this spring and summer. Vanderdoes is slated to compete in the Nike Sparq Camp in Long Beach on March 31, where he’ll be measured, timed and evaluated on his size, speed and strength. This summer, interested schools will invite him to their camps, where they can get a better look at him and show off their respective facilities. Vanderdoes will take a break from football this spring. The left-hander is an imposing figure at the plate, and on the mound for the Placer baseball team. His father Eddie starred for the Hillmen 20 years ago and now coaches the Placer junior varsity squad. Young Eddie said he hasn’t ruled out trying to play baseball at the next level. Football scholarships are much more lucrative and major programs often frown upon two-sport college athletes. But at this rate, college coaches might be flexible in order to land the fleet-footed, hard-working Vanderdoes. The recruiting buzz surrounding him has not gone to his head. “He’s keeping a great attitude about it,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “You would never know that he is a high profile kid from just talking to him. He’s humble. He has a great work ethic and he treats people well.”