Brent VanderVeen was in the middle of a whirlwind weeklong tour of three BCS college campuses when he entered Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy’s office to talk about his opportunities.
Suddenly, there wasn’t one for the fast-rising quarterback from Arroyo Grande High. Not in Stillwater, Okla., anyway.
Another quarterback beat VanderVeen to the snap, calling in a verbal commitment while the 6-foot-5 Eagles standout was in a film session with a position coach.
“That kind of sucked to know that I couldn’t go there anymore because they were only taking one QB,” VanderVeen said.
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Though Gundy was open all along with the players about the lack of room on the roster, VanderVeen said it was disappointing.
The bitter pill helped push forward his commitment timetable, and he ended up making one on his last stop.
After visiting Arkansas to kick off the trio of official visits, VanderVeen said he made a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship offer from Oregon State on Tuesday.
The commitment is non-binding to either party until VanderVeen can sign a National Letter of Intent in February — until which time the NCAA prohibits coaches from commenting publicly on specific recruits — but it gives him some peace of mind heading into his senior season.
“Oregon State said you’re going to come in and be able to compete,” VanderVeen said. “If you can beat out other guys, then we’ll let you do that. I don’t know about playing time, but it definitely depends on how my first summer goes when I’m there.”
VanderVeen said he also held offers from the Cowboys, Razorbacks and Arkansas State. He said Northwestern, Vanderbilt and UCLA were also coming on strong before his commitment.
The intense recruiting attention has been somewhat surprising to VanderVeen, who was recently named the No. 9 dual-threat senior quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com.
Eagles coach Tom Goossen, who has been on the staff since 1986, said VanderVeen is the first Arroyo Grande player in his coaching career to make an early commitment. His name certainly rocketed up a number of recruiting websites over the past few months.
Transitioning from backup to starter in his first varsity season, VanderVeen averaged 100 passing yards in 14 games for Arroyo Grande, which finished 11-3 after losing in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division championship game last year.
In his best game, a 42-6 win over rival San Luis Obispo, VanderVeen passed for 232 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 104 yards and two more scores.
VanderVeen also had games where he didn’t have to throw. He had six or fewer pass attempts in four runaway victories, putting up numbers that don’t jump out as prototype Pac-12 quarterback statistics.
VanderVeen is a model quarterback in other ways, his coach said.
“He has major college size, that’s No. 1,” Goossen said, “and No. 2 is a major college arm. And I think what really got DI coaches interested was his athletic ability, his ability to run and throw the ball, and when you add all that up, it’s a pretty good package.
“His future is ahead of him. He hasn’t come close to reaching what I believe his full potential will be, and that has to entice college coaches.”
What also helped VanderVeen, who was a standout on the Eagles’ boys basketball and baseball teams as well, was the recruitment of other Arroyo Grande players.
Safety Seth Jacobs has been a hot commodity for close to a year and has reportedly been offered scholarships from all but one Pac-12 school, USC being the lone holdout.
Lineman Garrett Weinreich also has an offer from Oregon State, and Garrett Owens is one of the top-ranked kickers in the country.
When coaches stopped by campus to see Jacobs, who started the season as the Eagles’ quarterback before giving way to VanderVeen, or any of the others, Arroyo Grande coaches made sure to showcase their lesser-known prospects.
“It drew more attention to Brent and his potential than he might have gotten otherwise,” Goossen said. “College coaches were able to meet him, greet him. They saw his YouTube video, and they were able to see him throw during the offseason a little bit.”