Vanderdoes was an incredible force on the Auburn defensive line. Playing defensive tackle, he rounded up 72 tackles, recorded nine sacks and captained a Placer team that went 11-1 on the year.
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Placer High is not a campus that usually hosts Division I football coaches. No elite prospect has played at the school since the 1970s, and Auburn, Calif., isn't exactly a recruiting hotbed. When most coaches travel to California to visit top prospects, they usually head to Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire, the Bay Area or suburban Sacramento.
Auburn is only 30 minutes from the state capital, but it isn't suburban. A rural town with a population of just over 13,000 and a high school with barely more than 1,300 students, Auburn is more famous for being the epicenter of the California Gold Rush than it is for any gridiron memories. Placer's athletic facilities did go national in the press for one day -- after it was discovered that a fully stocked Cold War bomb shelter briefly inhibited a weight room renovation.
Eddie Vanderdoes may change that legacy in a hurry. He is the first All-American in school history and arguably the best defensive tackle on the West Coast. Coaches from seemingly every Division I program -- Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU and USC, among others -- have been frequenting Placer since his sophomore year. A massive defensive tackle -- he is 6-foot-3, 302 pounds who can squat 500 pounds -- Vanderdoes is one of the most sought-after players in the nation.
"The whole recruiting process was a total whirlwind," coach Joey Montoya said. "Name a big school and they have been here. It's hard to imagine that there are some schools in our country that get several of these kids every year. We feel pretty privileged that we even have one."
Vanderdoes first started as a 6-foot sophomore on the line who had the right body type and good instincts. Over two years, he grew three inches and gained more than 30 pounds of strength. Now, he has the skills to immediately contend for a starting spot when he attends college in the fall.
The behemoth is currently considered a "soft verbal" to USC, meaning he favors the Trojans, but is taking official visits to other campuses. Other schools rumored to be aggressively courting Vanderdoes include Notre Dame, Washington, UCLA and Cal.
"He is a future Ndamukong Suh-type that can play the run and can play the pass," Montoya said. "He is going to create a ton of matchup problems because he is so difficult to block."
Not only can he eat up blocks and take on triple teams, but Vanderdoes is also an intelligent, soft-spoken leader who is loved by his teammates, his head coach and his peers.
"He's a great kid from a great family," Montoya said. "He's well-spoken and he's a motivator for not only the football team but for the rest of the campus. He's a revered guy because he backs it up in a major way."
With only his college decision left to make, Vanderdoes looks ready to put himself -- as well as his hometown -- on the football map.