The central theme with University of Georgia recruiting will always be to close the borders in the Peach State. But last week, the Bulldogs went cross-country to try and land one of the best on the West Coast.
Georgia had already extended six offers to defensive linemen for the 2013 class, five of which are to in-state prospects. Head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Rodney Garner extended his latest offer to Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer). After talking to the ESPNU Watch List selection, it became apparent why Garner hopes to reel in the Golden State standout.
“I only spoke to Coach Garner once, and when I called him that is when he offered me,” Vanderdoes said. “He said he saw my highlight tape and that he really loves the way I play the game. He said with his coaching he could keep making me better, and I could be one of those guys like Richard Seymour that he develops for the NFL, so I thought that was really cool.”
Having watched the former first-round pick, seven-time Pro Bowler and six time All-Pro selection play for the nearby Oakland Raiders, Vanderdoes admits the offer is appealing. But the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Vanderdoes, who received offer No. 23 Wednesday night from Illinois, already thought highly of the Bulldogs.
“I really liked Georgia even before they offered,” Vanderdoes said. “Georgia is a great, great SEC program with a ton of history. I love how they play football. In the SEC they are all about their linemen which I really love, especially Georgia because they send a lot of their guys to the league like Richard Seymour, Charles Johnson and a few others. Coach Garner is a really cool coach, so I definitely have serious interest in Georgia.”
With over 20 offers already and more coming in each week, Vandeerdoes admits the number of options available might make it difficult to visit every college campus.
“I am going to try, but the chances of me seeing colleges in the South and East during the summer are probably slim,” Vanderdoes said. “Any of those programs will likely have to be considered for my official visits instead.”
Wisconsin is starting to show a lot of interest in Vanderdoes, who would like to hear from Ohio State, too. With so many top programs to compete with for only five visits, the Bulldogs might be facing an uphill battle. Vanderdoes suggests otherwise.
“Georgia will definitely be in the running for an official,” Vanderdoes said. “Georgia is one of my favorite schools, and they are a great program, so I definitely like Georgia.”
Although the Hillmen have gone 39-13 the last four years, according to Vanderdoes the last three standouts to sign football scholarships were quarterback Collin Burnett to Sacramento State in 2011, wide receiver Asher Gotzmer to UC Davis in 2010, and a kicker to nearby Sierra College. With Vanderdoes bringing a lot of attention to the Placer program, he is trying to enjoy the process while staying focused on his senior year.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am still taking it slow because a few months ago it was not like this, so I am just trying to have fun with it,” Vanderdoes said. “My parents are really excited and proud for me. It can be hard getting a lot of calls sometimes because I have to separate the phone calls from homework, so my dad has been handling a lot of the media so I can focus on my schoolwork and training.”
Vanderdoes, who had 65 tackles, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles as a junior, credits his success on the field to his defensive line coach, who stresses the importance of proper technique and maintaining a low pad level.
“I owe it all to my defensive line coach pushing me every day in the weight room by telling me college coaches are watching,” Vanderdoes said. “He makes sure that I have my technique down and that I am going hard in conditioning and lifting. All of the coaches say my technique, versatility, strength and separation are what I do well.”
And he credits the game for helping him develop the qualities needed to succeed in life.
“Football has had a big impact on who I am so far,” Vanderdoes said. “This is my 12th year playing football, and the game has taught me discipline, how to think for yourself, how to put in work, dedicate yourself, and establish the work ethic needed to become a man.”