When we think about college football recruiting, we visualize high school athletes getting courted by big-time programs, with coaches, writers, and fans alike drooling over these kids like they are the second coming of Christ. When an athlete commits to one school over another, he receives nearly as much of an outpour of support and adoration from his new team’s fans as he does disapproval and scorn from those of teams he cast aside. And should he go back on his commitment to a school for whatever reason? Those same fans that once loved him will now viciously tear him apart on Twitter, Facebook, and various messages boards.
It’s easy for those who follow recruiting to forget that these athletes, at the end of the day, are still kids being tasked with making decisions that impact hundreds and thousands of people. We want them to make a decision that’s in our best interest, but what about what they need and want out of a program? The whole process, the stress and the anxiety that comes with making such a monumental decision is a lot for a seventeen-year old kid to deal with.
So what is it like for the parents?
Eddie Vanderdoes has been following the interest piqued in his son, also named Eddie Vanderdoes, since he was just a freshman in high school. “His first contact was from LSU for baseball his freshman year,” Eddie Sr. said. “Then going into his junior year he went to a San Jose State camp in Sacramento, and he got offered there from San Jose for football. That was his first one.”
Later that summer, Eddie Jr. attended an Oregon State camp for two days and picked up his second offer. From there, the ball got rolling quickly on the hype around him.
“When you get a few offers, people want to know why. And he got his film out there, which he made himself. And from there he just kind of blew up, everything took off from there.”
And took off, he did. Eddie Sr. watched Eddie Jr. get numerous offers throughout his junior year from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Michigan, Florida Sate, Notre Dame, and Oregon, to name a few. Eddie Sr. says that he and his wife fully supported Eddie Jr. along the recruiting trail, and encouraged him to commit to a school that was the best fit for him, regardless of location.
“As far as us, we told him we would support him wherever he went. We didn’t limit him to California, but we were honest and open about our criticisms and praises of certain programs over others,” Eddie Sr. says.
For a while, Eddie Jr. considered LSU, Cal, and Nebraska his leaders. The Trojans didn’t join the Eddie Vanderdoes bandwagon until late in the game, but they would be the ultimate game-changer.
“USC was one that didn’t really come into play as heavy until later. He had his amount of schools he was considering, and USC was always one of them,” Eddie Sr. says. “A month before he committed, he really knew that USC had jumped up on the list. About two weeks in he was really sure he wanted to go there. He didn’t know exactly when he was going to commit, but it was the team that need to be, kind of beaten. It was the best fit for numerous reasons.” Click here to continue.