Ashburn, VA (July 19, 2015) – Stone Bridge High School senior, Andrew Vastardis, OL, 6-4, 300 Lbs., committed to play football at Old Dominion University (ODU) on June 25, 2015 starting in the 2016-2017 academic school year. The FOX spent some time in an exclusive interview with Vastardis to catch up and get and in-depth view on his commitment to ODU.
“I committed to ODU after visiting there for a second time earlier in that week,” said Vastardis. Vastardis really admires and respects the coaching staff. He says “They have high standards both on and off the field for their athletes.” The ODU football program has accomplished so much in a short time. He is excited about being a part of the Division I (D1) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) legacy that is being created at ODU. “I am also pleased with what the honors college has to offer students at ODU. It will give me the opportunity to pursue areas I am really interested in throughout my time at ODU, says Vastardis. He has worked hard in school to achieve a 4.4 GPA. Vastardis explained, “ I needed to know that wherever I went, I would have an opportunity to take advantage of all that I have worked so hard to accomplish.”
ODU was founded in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, located in Norfolk, Virginia. ODU was established as an extension of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia and it began educating teachers and engineers as a two-year college named, Old Dominion College. In 1964, the name was changed to Old Dominion University by the Board of Visitors. ODU is one of Virginia’s forward-focused, public doctoral research university for students worldwide, who want a rigorous academic experience in problem-solving that drives cutting-edge research, eminent scholarship and strategic partnerships with government, business, industry, organizations and the arts. ODU has a student base over 24,000 in undergraduate and graduate programs taught by a faculty of 1,200. It has an alumni base of 124,000 in all 50 states and 67 countries.
Vastardis’ commitment to become a Monarch felt excited and relieved at the same time. He is very excited to be playing football for ODU and felt relieved that he found a place where he would “feel” at home. Vastardis found it at ODU!
The recruiting experience for Vastardis had ups and downs, but his parents were right there with him along the journey. Vastardis said, “I felt very blessed to have the opportunities I was given by the schools that offered me scholarships.” He received offers from Air Force, Delaware, Fordham, Liberty, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and William and Mary. The whole recruiting process can be a bit overwhelming, but I felt very blessed to have the opportunities I was given by the schools that offered me scholarships. I had fun going through it all with my parents, but it had ups and downs along the way. The whole process can be overwhelming, but Vastardis knew what he was looking for and he just needed to be patient to find the right fit. It looks as he has found his niche! The factors that went into his decision to commit to ODU were several. Vastardis says “I really admire and respect the coaching staff and they have high standards both on and off the field for their athletes.”
Vastardis will be playing for Head Coach, Bobby Wilder, and Position Coach, Bill Dee. Coach Wilder has a huge amount of integrity and he expects his players to perform on and off the field. “I wanted a head coach that was all about developing the entire student- athlete, but was also very competitive and driven on the field like I am. He is exactly this, said Vastardis.” From the start Vastardis felt comfortable with Coach Dee. Vastardis said, “His love and passion for the game was evident and he saw that same quality in me.” Throughout the recruiting process and unofficial visits Vastardis got a glimpse into the family atmosphere within the offensive line and their unified respect and admiration of Coach Dee and their collective goal to be great. It is something that he wants to be a part of. Vastardis can’t wait to play for Coaches Wilder and Dee in the fall of 2016. His goal is to play and to do anything I can to help his team win a championship.
In the last six seasons, ODU has compiled a record of 52-20 (.694) with two post-season FCS Playoff appearances. Vastardis’ goal is to play football and do anything to help his team win a championship. With his keen abilities and steadfast dedication to his studies and football, Vastardis will make an impact on both fronts! From the academic front, Vastardis says “the field of study that most interests me is biology because I enjoy it. How this will work into what I want to pursue as a career is still unclear to me.” Vastardis is interested in health, sports medicine, and computer engineering, but like most high school seniors, he needs more exposure to everything before he knows for sure.
Vastardis has been playing on the gridiron for 10 years (since he was 7). Vastardis says, “My fondest memory in high school is when “I absolutely crush a player and hear the “OOOH” from the sidelines.” The whole atmosphere surrounding the “Battle of the ‘Burn” game between Stone Bridge and Broad Run is great. “Winning the game is even better, says Vastardis.” The team comradery at Stone Bridge is amazing! Vastardis says, “the time we spend together as a team eating pasta on Thursday nights and going to IHOP together after the games on Friday night is great fun!”
“I am thankful for so many supporters, but my family is my biggest support group. They encourage me to pursue every dream I have about football. Having my family believe in me has always enabled me to push forward to achieve my dream, said Vastardis”. Vastardis goes on to say “Coach Thompson (Mickey Thompson, Head Coach of the Stone Bridge Bulldogs) has put so much into my development and growth as a player and person. I could never thank him enough for all he has done for me. Coach Wrenn (Kyle Wrenn, Bulldogs Offensive Line & JV Head Coach) has been a strong mentor and friend throughout my high school experience. Dave Mikel, Owner and Strength and Conditioning Coach, at Performance Edge has worked with me to improve my strength and conditioning for the past four years. He has been a huge part of why I have continued to develop as a player.
– Andrew Vastardis (@AndrewV68) June 26, 2015
In giving advice to others in pursuing their dream, Vastardis says “Work hard because nothing happens without this!” Vastardis believe s that grades are important whether you’re playing a sport or not. Too many talented athletes are not able to pursue their dream of playing college football, because of their grades. Vastardis’ favorite quote is “Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory… lasts forever.” From the movie, The Replacements.
Vastardis still has a great opportunity ahead in his 2015-2016 senior year at Stone Bridge. He is bigger, stronger and more agile. He will be “The Protector” of his teammate and Quarterback, Joe Thompson!
Contact Steven Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to highlight your favorite athlete’s college commitment on VivaLoudoun.com.
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Written by Steven Holland