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  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Placer High's Eddie Vanderdoes makes it official, choosing Notre Dame over several other high-profile football programs, including national champion Alabama.

  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Placer High's Eddie Vanderdoes says he's relieved the recruiting process is over. "It feels like the right spot," he said of Notre Dame.

Placer's Vanderdoes chooses Notre Dame

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 - 7:44 am

The one thing Eddie Vanderdoes is most looking forward to now?

A good night's sleep.

Vanderdoes, the Placer High School senior defensive end and top-5 national recruit, ended months of speculation Wednesday when he announced he will attend Notre Dame on a football scholarship.

Vanderdoes picked the Fighting Irish over UCLA, Washington, USC and national champion Alabama.

It was a "life decision," Vanderdoes said with a sense of relief that the decision was finally behind him.

He first cited academics, then football tradition in South Bend, Ind., and the community that lives for its sports stars.

"Very happy about it," Vanderdoes said during a ceremony in front of media, family, friends and classmates in the auditorium on the Auburn campus. "I'm finally done with the process. It feels like the right spot. It really fits."

Vanderdoes said he had lost sleep and agonized over his choice. Every school, he said, had merit.

The recruiting process included rumors and speculation about which college Vanderdoes would select.

One Internet report Wednesday had Vanderdoes headed to Auburn (in Alabama), but the confusion came because of his love for his foothill hometown.

Earlier in the day, Notre Dame jumped the gun, including Vanderdoes on its signing list, even though he had not faxed his national letter of intent. Notre Dame quickly admitted its error and sent out a revised news release without Vanderdoes' name.

Vanderdoes, who fielded dozens of calls from recruiters Wednesday, signed his paper and faxed it just moments before his announcement.

"He's a great player with a great future," said Jon Osterhout, who runs the linemen camp Linemen Win Games and is close with the Vanderdoes family. "He couldn't go wrong with any of his choices. This decision will affect him for the next 70 years. The next big decision for him may be picking his future wife."

Said Vanderdoes when told of the quote: "I don't have a wife … this year."

Vanderdoes led a strong recruiting class for the region.

At the same ceremony in the Placer auditorium, golfer Hannah Gregg signed with Sonoma State, tight end Stone Sander signed with Sacramento State and quarterback Peter Denham with Northern Arizona.

Many other area schools held signing parties. At Antelope, three football players became the first Titans to sign Division I letters. Receiver Tyler Winston and lineman Michael Okoroike are headed to San Jose State, and lineman Daren Echeveria is off to Air Force.

"We appreciate and understand how hard this is to get a scholarship," Okoroike said. "I feel great about it. It's a chance to get a free education and still play football."

Okoroike, who said he dreams of becoming a surgeon, joked that linemen often wind up with mangled fingers – not good for surgeons – but vowed to play smart.

Winston had interest from other programs such as UCLA but said he felt at home with San Jose State, which won 11 games this season, the most victories since 1940.

"I think we have a really good recruiting class," Winston said. "And I'm glad it's over. It's a relief. I'm proud."

Among other top players signing Wednesday were Pleasant Grove running back Isaiah Saunders (Idaho) and defensive tackle Nick Terry (Boise State).

Boise State also landed Nevada Union linebacker Tanner Vallejo and Jesuit wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck.

Grant receiver Trayvon Henderson signed with Hawaii in what national recruiting experts viewed as a steal.

There was even a signing in Florida.

The Bee Player of the Year, Del Oro's Brandon Monroe, in Orlando for an all-star football showcase, signed with San Jose State to play running back or defensive back.

"I think he'd be a really good college back," Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. "He has great lateral quickness and speed."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson



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