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Vanderdoes adds another chapter to No. 3 jersey

Feb 11, 2013, 7:33 PM EDT

Eddie Vanderdoes

Walk-on safety Connor Cavalaris might have done something that most offensive lineman will struggle with. He stopped blue-chip recruit Eddie Vanderdoes in his tracks.

Sure, it didn’t happen on the field. But when Vanderdoes was looking at jersey numbers, he scrolled down the roster and saw that his long-worn high school number — No. 47 — was taken by the sophomore safety from Lake Forest, Illinois. So Vanderdoes called an audible, and in doing so almost arbitrarily joined the prestigious Irish fraternity that has donned the No. 3 jersey.

“They have somebody at #47,” Vanderdoes told Sure West Sports’ Mike Finnerty. “But talking to Louie Nix, and Louie is going to be No. 1 this year and Stephon is No. 7. He goes, ‘Bro, you’ve got to get a single-digit number.’ And it was either three or five, and I took three.”

So it’s not exactly the story traditionalists will want to think of when they look back at greats like Lamonica, Montana, Mirer Floyd and Vanderdoes, but any incoming freshman that calls a 340-pound behemoth like Nix “Louie,” should be alright with Irish fans.

That kind of attitude is probably what’s most refreshing about Vanderdoes. While he’s got the elite reputation of one of the best defensive linemen in the country, Vanderdoes seems remarkably absent of ego, merely a really big kid looking to fit in and play football on one of the nation’s most promising teams.

In an interview he did after Signing Day, listening to Vanderdoes showed you the true personality of a kid that seemed genuinely excited to go back to being a football player, already tired of the celebrity status that came with being one of the final undecided top recruits in the country. Even though the process was a grind, Vanderdoes talked about what made the opportunity so special.

“Only so many people in the whole world get to go through that,” Vanderdoes told Finnerty. “The people you get to meet throughout the process. Meeting the other recruits, picking their brains, going on visits. Getting to ride Nick Saban’s golf cart around. How many people get to do that?”

Yet for all the cache that comes along with big personalities like Saban, what drew Vanderdoes to Notre Dame was the intimate feel that came with the school. For a small town guy that clings proudly to his Auburn, California roots, that was a selling point.

“It’s my foundation. Having all of these people backing me up and making sure I’m doing the right thing,” Vanderdoes said. “They truly care about me here and they’re always looking out for me. That’s the thing in South Bend that stuck out to me, it’s a lot like Auburn. A tight knit community, everybody is looking out for you.”

That community included the dorm life at Notre Dame, where scholarship athletes live wall-to-wall with regular students, something Vanderdoes was originally skeptical about, but learned to embrace.

“At first it was a little bit iffy. I’m rooming with students and I’m a football player, that’s going to be weird,” Vanderdoes said. “But going down there, the students are great. You really get to network with everybody there, it’s not just with the football team. You’re talking to future CEOs, with students and all that.”

  1. nudeman - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:02 PM


    Keith … come on. Spellcheck that one.

    • bernhtp - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      It is curious that Keith doesn’t do something as simple as writing the article in Microsoft Word with its spelling and (light) grammar check, and then just paste the result into his WordPress blog when satisfied.

    • Keith Arnold - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Jesus. Mistake a few letters in a word that spellcheck doesn’t usually recognize and glad that’s the one thing you recognize.

      And Bern — Formatting goes to hell in a Word doc. Otherwise I’d have been doing that for a few years.

      Appreciate you guys making sure everything looks up to par though.

    • papadec - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:49 PM

      nude – I think I’m missing something here, or the special needs kids I work with have numbed my brain & spelling ability beyond repair. It looks like Keith got it right – or did that sly devil go back and do a fix?

      • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        Believe we have a re-do

    • kapnd73 - Feb 13, 2013 at 2:15 AM

      Perhaps Vanderdoes has some Bohemian ethnic roots, and Keith is making a clever play on words.

    • dmacirish - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      nude – you didnt spell check your name. i think it is supposed to be spelled douchebagman.

      • 1historian - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        is that the best you can do?

      • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:21 PM


      • dmac4real - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM

        Are you in 3rd grade?

      • dmacirish - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:50 AM

        yep. just finished third grade. dont you feel a bit funny now.

  2. irishaggie - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    This kid is going to be a load to stop. A massive headache for offensive lineman. He is faster than louis nix and about the same size. I hate when people say “what could have been”. But really, do you guys imagine what the D-Line would be like to have Stephon, Louis, and Aaron Lynch. Then subbing in have Sheldon, Eddie, and Jones. No one could ever get through that.

    • nudeman - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      Lynch would have been so jealous of Nix’s popularity and threatened by Vanderdoes’ ability that he’d have personally blown the locker room up.

      So no, sorry, don’t miss him even a little. I mourned the loss of Lynch a year ago but 12-0 tells me they were – and are – better off without him. This kid will have real problems when he gets to the NFL, not to mention at USF this year.

      • 1historian - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Thumbs down on that because I think you’re right but I hope you’re not.
        Last season I wrote a few posts about Lynch watching the undefeated season in South Florida and saying “damn” over and over, as in – look what I blew.

        But he seems to be a good kid. But as immature as they get. Hopefully he will grow up.

        Speaking for me, the thought of a mature Aaron Lynch in the mix of our DL along with the others causes me to mutter “damn.”

        Best of luck to the

  3. yogihilt - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    “Keith … come on”. Grammar check that, Nude. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Especially the first comment following a nice article.

    • nudeman - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      Nice article, no question. Like 99.99% of what Keith does.

      This is an NBC site; not a blog being written by some 16 year old kid with acne in his pajamas in his parents’ basement. And it’s not like “behemoth” is exactly an obscure word.

      There are plenty of other grammar and spelling police here who will read that and be outraged … OUTRAGED, I tell ya’. I’m actually keeping my cool. You should too.

      Not just me.

      • ndirish10 - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM


        Keith has never stated what he wears , where he types from, and if he does or doesn’t have adult acne. So let us not rule out pajamas, parent’s basement, or acne.

        By the way, I remember reading in a past post that you reside in the Bay area. So how are Niner faithful coping. Here in Monrovia, pretty down for about a couple of days. Get this, the high school where I work and a strong supporter of the football team gets to their respective championship game and loses on a fumble within the 10 yard line about to go up, our Irish lose in the NCG, and the Niners, the main reason why I began following the Irish (Montana), lose in the SB. I guess this year was the year of the bridesmaid…

      • nudeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        I left the Bay Area 9 years ago, so no knowledge of how the fans are. But I can make a fairly educated guess. I lived there from 79-03, throughout all the Montana and Young years. Some of the best offensive football I’ve ever seen, or WILL ever see.

        But the fans are completely insufferable in a nouveau riche sort of way. Once they won their first SB they truly felt they were entitled to win it ever year. The whining and bitching on the airwaves and around water coolers after a loss would reach epic proportions.

        Once they got completely dismantled something like 31-14 in a playoff game vs GB and the fans lit up the airwaves the next day bitching about an offsides call early in the first quarter and how that cost them the game. This would happen all the time, as in the fans’ minds they were never beaten – they always lost because of a bad call, bad break or both. Mid season loss to (insert name of team) and it was the same sh**.

        Classy players, Bill Walsh was the classiest coach of all time IMO, Joe and Steve Young were the best, but the fans are awful. I could write 20 more paragraphs full of anecdotes on this.

        So when they lose, I celebrate and hope they’re in agony.

        The 49ers right there with the NY Mets, NY Knicks and USC in terms of teams I most loathe.

      • ndirish10 - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Damn you nude!!! Always calling it as you see it! Go Irish! Go Niners! Go Lancers (hs)!

      • 1historian - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        “acne in his pajamas”

        Now THAT is an image I didn’t need in the old cranium

        Other matters – ND guys and gals are supposed to be smart and part of being smart is KNOWING HOW TO SPELL.

        Shirley that’s not asking too much.

        Or is it?

      • kapnd73 - Feb 13, 2013 at 3:15 AM

        1historian, nude was suffering a classic case of misplaced prepositional modifier, not to mention a typo and extreme run-on sentence issues in his next post.

      • islandsdomer - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Ole st Francis ND10? Grew up 10 min north up the 280 from Stanford. Have grown to strongly dislike all Bay Area sports. Nude hit the nail on the head, same with USCum ppl. They allll turn my stomach. Go irish!!!!!

      • ndirish10 - Feb 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM


        Nope, down in Southern Cal, in Whittier.

  4. smartestjones - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Keith, why didn’t you post the full quote from EV? If I read the transcript right he said “…because the last time I checked no busters wore #3.”

    PSYCHE! I miss you, D. Jones.


  5. smartestjones - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Anyone else chuckle when they saw this on that other sports website? Kelly said, in response to his terrible round at Pebble Beach in a Pro-Am: “I’m trying to stay out of the way more than anything. If I’m really good at golf, it means I’m probably not doing as well on the football field, as I should.” I guess we can rest assured he isn’t sneaking onto the 13th hole at Warren when he should be working.

  6. yaketyyacc - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Vanderdoes reminds me of Alex Karras, who played for Iowa. Karras so dominated the left side of the defensiven line, it was iimpossible to even think of running to his side. Watchiing him decimate the right side of the Notre Dame offense was most discouraging.
    Well, now the shoe is on the other foot.
    Cannot wait to see Vanderdoes take the field. Keith you are right, he is a BE HIM OTH. And I have spell check. such a player creates his own vocabulary.
    The Irish are coming!

    • nudeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      I have seen threads here and elsewhere talking about comparisons between him and Lynch. Obviously EV hasn’t played a down yet, but to me there is NO comparison. Vanderdoes looks like a once in a lifetime type recruit, and the fact that he plays baseball really impresses me. He must be a hell of an athlete.

      Lynch is a one trick pony who is out of position more than in position. Plus he’s a cancer.

    • ndgoldandblue - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Plus, Karras was a fantastic father to Webster.

  7. 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I think Keith was just using alternative spelling to describe EV as a bohemian version of a big kid. You know, coming from California EV has that West Coast funkiness; probably likes the Grateful dead, wearing birkenstocks and patchouli oil…

    • andy44teg - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      I doubt he’s Bohemian with a name like Vanderdoes…I’m guessing part Dutch and part Mammoth??? You know what they say…”If you ain’t Mammoth, you ain’t much”

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        i was thinking bohemian as in “hippy,” not in the ethnic origin sense, but i’m with you on the mammoth bit. whether he is dutch, norwegian or swedish, he is big. i don’t imagine opposing pitchers try to pitch inside to him very often. bean that guy and all of the sudden you have 300+lbs charging the mound.

  8. 1historian - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    kapnd73 – thanks for clearing that up – I needed that

    • kapnd73 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:02 AM

      :-) Shirley you’re too kind.

      • 1historian - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        Good one

  9. rheffero - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Keith, great job, I always find something interesting in your articles about ND football program. Spell check Nazi’s, well, it is a page where ND grads go to get news.

    Reading through this kid’s thought process was a bit enlightening…first take on dorm life “football player with the regular folk”..weird…is that what I want.

    then he thinks about….my roomate may end up being the CEO of a company, or run a network….hey, that could work for me.

    It would be interesting to see how many recruits have that same first perception.

    Taking #3, well, if he did not know it then, he knows the significance now to Domers. From everything I have heard and seen, this kid should continue the tradition.

  10. 1historian - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Nude – calling an immature 19 year old kid a ‘cancer’ – no matter what the reason – is just not right. You’re better than that.

    • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      Your opinion, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Maybe “cancer” was a poor choice of a word.

      Call him what you want – it’s semantics. He started fights, divided the locker room and half the team or more was happy to see him go, despite his prodigious ability.

      So if he wasn’t a cancer, he was whatever is closest to it.

      • papadec - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        Would festering lesion work as a description that would satisfy all parties?

      • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        I’m down with “festering lesion”.
        I’d even add “oozing”

      • 1historian - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        I’ll settle for immature, stupid athletically gifted kid.

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