Sunday, June 10, 2012
Eddie Vanderdoes' other sport
By Brandon Oliver
Northern California is no stranger to high-profile, two-sport prospects. The Sacramento area is leading the way lately with Arik Armstead and Shaq Thompson having elite high school careers in multiple sports. In February, Armstead signed with Oregon to play both football and basketball, while Thompson signed with Washington before being drafted by the Boston Red Sox last week.
Add Auburn (Calif.) Placer ESPN 150 defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes to that list. Vanderdoes, No. 57 in the ESPN 150, grew up with baseball -- not football -- as his favorite sport and first love.
"I started playing baseball when I was 5 years old and always wanted to be a baseball player," Vanderdoes said. "Once I got into high school I realized I had the size and skill to be a great football player and now football is where I know my future is."
Vanderdoes led a strong Placer baseball program last season with a .420 average and had six home runs and 10 stolen bases. Yes, one of the nation's elite defensive tackles stole 10 bases.
Maybe it shouldn't be that surprising. The quick and explosive defensive line prospect has an offer list that can match nearly any prospect who came before him, including Thompson and Armstead. With 65 tackles and 10 sacks last season, Vanderdoes has all of college football's elite en route to the Sacramento area once again.
"It's so tough to narrow down my list because there are so many schools and coaches that I like," Vanderdoes said. "I'm taking my time and doing my research because I want to make the best decision for myself and no one else."
Florida, Alabama, Oregon, LSU and USC are just a few of the 50-plus schools on his offer list. While all of the schools above have impressive baseball programs, Vanderdoes isn't tempted to play two sports.
"I love baseball and think I could play a long time and be successful at it," he said. "But football is where I have been given the opportunity to move on to the next level and receive a free education while pursuing my dream of playing in the NFL."
Vanderdoes expects to play his recruitment out until the end of the process because he wants to be as thorough as possible.
"I'm blessed to have the opportunity to choose any number of places to continue my education and my career and I intend to make sure I go about it the right way," he said.
Having seen Thompson and Armstead go through wild recruitments that stirred controversy nationwide, Vanderdoes wants to make sure he learns from the ups and downs he saw his friends go through this past year.
"I have a great chance to take advantage of my talent and use it to better my future, so I plan to do just that," Vanderdoes said. "I saw how crazy things can get and while I like to create havoc on the field, I want to maintain control when my future is at stake."