April 23, 2012
The most competitive high school recruiting battles often necessitate innovative tactics. Still, what the USC football program did to try and sway one Sacramento-area recruit took things to a new level: A coach spent an entire day following him around and filming every single thing he did, documentary style.
The uber-recruit in question is Placer (Calif.) High defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes, the massive, 6-foot-4, 295-pound multi-sport star who recently hosted a USC coach on campus. According to the Sacramento Bee, Vanderdoes was filmed throughout his weight room workout, then followed the top-25 national recruit to his baseball game, where the Placer star had three hits against league rival Colfax (Calif.) High, one an enormous home run.
In fact, the baseball prowess which USC was getting down on tape could be complicating some of the prospect's recruiting options. UCLA -- like some 30 other schools -- has already offered Vanderdoes a football scholarship, but the Bruins baseball program is now giving the Placer star a sniff as well, with plans to come and watch one of his forthcoming starts.
Given his .405 batting average, three homers and 15 RBIs -- not to mention an earlier 16 strikeouts in a victory against a team from Nevada -- there's plenty of reason to believe that Vanderdoes has what it takes to succeed at the next level for baseball as much as he does in football.
Of course, that doesn't mean that baseball is likely to be the determining factor in Vanderdoes' college decision. The defensive lineman is attending two different Pac-12 spring games in the coming weeks -- first at Cal and then at Oregon -- and his massive frame and athleticism is likely to ensure that the attention Vanderdoes receives for his football potential far outstrips whatever time college baseball programs might spend chasing his signature.
That was certainly the impetus for USC's visit to Placer, and its rather unique approach of treating the high school junior like a PBS or HBO subject. Whether it helps the Trojans get a leg up on their competition for the teen remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: His performance while in front of the camera's lens didn't discourage any sense that he is a future prime time player.
"How's that for handling pressure?" Vanderdoes' father, also named Eddie Vanderdoes, told the Bee about his son's three hits with the USC staff looking on.