Erik Vander Goes got a late start playing football. He started playing in the eighth grade for the Edison Chargers, a pop warner team that his dad helped coach.
“[Family] has been huge. They’ve sacrificed a lot to make sure I’m doing the right things academically and athletically. They’ve definitely been a huge [support system] for me and always encouraging me to be the best that I can be,” Vander Goes said.
The Orange County, California, native is now a senior at Lutheran High School and he has a 4.36 cumulative GPA. His junior year, he had a 4.67 GPA and has been the “scholar-athlete,” for three years in a row, meaning he has had the highest GPA in his grade for that span. In college, he plans to major in business, economics, law, or political science.
He also helps out in the community as a part of a class he took at Lutheran and he really enjoys helping people less fortunate than himself.
“Besides football, I participate in missions. I go on trips and stuff to help out communities that need it. For example, we go to Appalachia which is really the poorest part of the nation. It really does make me feel grateful for what I have. It helps me to see how much God has blessed my life and I’m getting as much out of it as they are. There was a class in school, I chose to take because I wanted the experiences.”
On the football field, the toughest thing Erik Vander Goes had to overcome was his inexperience playing football. He got to high school and started playing with guys who have been playing since age four or five. Attending an FBU football camp in Seattle, Washington helped him grow and shake off the rust due to his inexperience.
“I actually attended an FBU football camp. One of the coaches invited me to go to Seattle and I ended up going there. Coach Charlie Collins was the man. I had had a rough time at the camp before but he believed in me and gave me personal attention and saw potential in me and at that camp I really shined. That was when I realized I could go places with this.”
Erik Vander Goes is not ranked on any of the major recruiting services and he does not currently have scholarship offers. The six-foot-two, 230 pound, tight end has received the most interest from Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and Brown University in that order in addition to UC Davis, University of San Diego, Stetson and all of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools.
He took an official visit to Duke and met with MIT coaches whom he was impressed with as well.
“A lot of these schools have shown genuine interest, it’s just a matter of seeing the first few games of my senior year.”
He believes all of the schools interested in him are great ones and he’s looking for a place where he’ll be able to fit in with the team, help them win as many games as possible and get the best education he can. He also is not sure when he’ll make his commitment decision yet but he did say he will make it when the time is right. See his junior highlight film here.
“I definitely want to see that you are able to pursue excellence both academically and athletically and you don’t have to make a choice between either. Also, [I want to go to a school where] the guys on the team are genuinely good guys, I don’t want to get into trouble while I’m in college.”
He likens his game to former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez because of the physical playing style he displayed during his NFL career. Vander Goes was used mainly as a blocking tight end last season and he believes it has helped him.
“With the offense we run, it was kind of a role that I assumed. It has definitely helped me because it has put me in a position that a lot of tight ends don’t have to be [in]. A lot of them don’t get the blocking experience so I have a unique skill set that way. I do feel that this year, with a new offensive coordinator that there are going to be more opportunities for me.”
Lutheran head football coach Chuck Petersen believes Vander Goes has come a long way and is a very instinctive type of football player who has made great improvement in the weight room, getting bigger and stronger. That hard work is setting him up for a great senior year.
“He’s being recruited by a lot of high-end academic schools in the Ivy League. I think obviously they like that they can get him in school and not have to struggle with that part of it. They like the fact that he’s a big strong kid, especially the lower body and how he does a nice job at the line of scrimmage in the run game.”
When his time at Lutheran High School is all said and done, Erik Vander Goes said he will miss, of course, his coaches and teammates along with the laughter they all share in the locker room. He wants to leave the school with something they can strive for, that you can be a good athlete and excellent student at the same time.
“I just believe he’s an unbelievably accountable kid. What you see is what you get [with him]. He’ll show up every day, put in great work and will be as Erik Van Der Goes can be every snap,” Petersen said.
Heisman Trophy Finalists Include Joe Burrow, Justin fields, Jalen Hurts, Chase Young
The finalists for the Heisman Trophy have been unveiled and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young are headed to New York this weekend for the 85th edition of the award for the most outstanding college football player.
The winner will be announced on Saturday night during a ceremony that kicks off at 8pm est on ESPN.
“In my opinion, he should win it,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “In my opinion, he’s going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he’s a team player. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards are not high on his list. That’s what makes him such a great team player.”
While Burrow may have the most momentum heading into the ceremony, and is the likely number 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Young is the first Ohio State defensive player to finish in the top four in Heisman voting, and Young is the first defensive player from the Big Ten to do so since Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the award all the back in 1997.
Young led the nation with 16.5 sacks and in tackles for loss per game with 1.9.
Additionally, Ohio State is the seventh school to have multiple players invited to the Heisman ceremony in the same year, but the first to have both an offensive player and a defensive player.
Rutgers Brings Back Greg Schiano with Eight-Year, $32 Million Deal
Rutgers is bringing back Greg Schiano as their head coach following a lengthy negotiation process that has led to an eight-year, $32 million deal, according to ESPN.
“Today we open the next great chapter for Rutgers Football,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said. “Coach Schiano is absolutely the best person to lead our program. He brings a quality of leadership and integrity that will make all of us proud in the years ahead. I couldn’t be more excited for our student-athletes and our fans.
“A lot of hard work lies ahead, but we will all keep chopping together with Coach to achieve success in the Big Ten. We all know what the goal is and we all must do our part. I can’t express enough appreciation to Greg and Christy Schiano, the first family of Rutgers Football. Welcome back!”
Schiano went 68-67 from 2001-2011 as Rutgers head coach.
“Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family,” Schiano said in a statement put out by the school. “I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done.”
Schiano left Rutgers in 2012 to become the head coach of the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, in a tenure that lasted just two years.
“I commend Rutgers Athletics Director Pat Hobbs and Coach Schiano for reaching an agreement following very complex negotiations to bring on this new, exciting chapter for Rutgers Athletics,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. “We are all thrilled to welcome Coach Schiano. He is the right coach at the right time to build our Big Ten football program into a long-running source of pride for Rutgers.”
Ole Miss Fires Matt Luke
Ole Miss is moving on from head coach Matt Luke, who was fired on Sunday following three seasons at the helm of the Rebels.
“After evaluating the overall trajectory of our football program, we did not see enough momentum on the field and determined a change is necessary in order for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level” Athletics director Keith Carter said in an official statement.
“While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program. We will always be grateful to Coach Luke for his leadership, particularly from a recruiting, academic and overall culture standpoint. At the same time, winning is important, and we know that we can compete for championships at Ole Miss.
“A search is underway to find a new head coach who can build a complete program that attracts top talent, develops them as young men and sustains a winning mentality. We will be looking for the leadership, energy and commitment to excellence necessary to compete in the Southeastern Conference and galvanize our passionate fan base.”
Luke compiled a 15-21 record during his tenure at Ole Miss.
According to the Clarion Ledger’s Nick Suss, the firing of Luke was not well-received by some of the players, with some storming out of the team meeting angry over the decision.
Many are speculating that the Egg Bowl was what set the firing in motion. However, it is worth noting that attendance was becoming an issue in the midst of a losing season, and with a new athletic director in the fold, change was likely coming sooner or later.
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