VandenHeuvel's rare blend of good quickness and footwork with incredible size and strength makes him a prospect to watch. Scout.com rated him the No. 91 offensive line prospect in the nation. VandenHeuvel will most likely begin his career at right tackle, but he could also move to guard depending on how his career progresses, beginning next fall.
An all-state lineman his senior year, VandenHeuvel carries a 3.7 grade-point average and scored a 26 on the ACT. He committed to Wisconsin in August, before any other school offered him a scholarship.
Badger Nation: Do you have an academic discipline in mind for college?
Eric VandenHeuvel: "I was thinking something in medicine. I'm not sure which type of medicine but something within that."
BN: What was your favorite memory from your official visit?
EV: "Boy, that trip? The banquet was cool, getting to see the whole team up and get to say how the year went and to see some of the guys in person…I got to see a lot of the team members. Also to see the town, too."
BN: What was your favorite college team growing up?
EV: "Favorite college ball? The Badgers, definitely."
BN: What are you most proud of from your prep career?
EV: "Probably when I came into high school, I was pretty much a slow, fat kid and then through hard work and stuff, I have turned into a Division I football player. I take pride in that. And that I was able to work through that and lose the weight and gain the ability through hard work."
BN: You're 340 pounds now and you lost weight to get to that point?
EV: "Oh, I gained weight, actually, I think it was muscle weight. When people look at me, they really don't think I weigh 340 pounds and people have told me that. When I came in, I think I weighed 280 and I gained three inches, height-wise, and then gained a few pounds over the years."
BN: What did you have to do from a work ethic standpoint to get where you are now?
EV: "One of the old coaches that doesn't do the football coaching anymore, runs a running and sprinting and agility thing in the mornings that are run for about 45-50 minutes. I think that seriously helped me burn the weight off because that's a pretty rigorous routine he uses."
BN: Do you anticipate redshirting your first year at Wisconsin?
EV: "Yeah. They said they're probably going to redshirt me."
BN: What are your goals for your Badger career both for this year and in seasons to come?
EV: "You know, just to be able to be a Badger and be that good and be able to get through the workouts and the practices and just prove to myself that I can do this, become a great football player and be one of the greats."
BN: Have you talked to Kraig Urbik much about what it's like to be a freshman down there?
EV: "A little bit. He says it's really not that big of a deal. Just over time, you get used to it. The first couple of weeks, that's when the big changes go and that's when it seems the worst, but eventually, you just see it isn't so bad and it just turns into a lifestyle."
BN: Were the two of you pretty close in high school?
EV: "We were pretty close. I wouldn't say we were real close but we were friends. Just because we were the two biggest kids in school, we could push each other around without hurting anybody."
BN: When do you expect to arrive on campus?
EV: "They run a summer program for lifting and stuff, so I was going to attend that."
BN: Where do you think you will be in 10 years?
EV: "In 10 years? Boy, you know, NFL will be nice but I'll take it as it comes and even if I don't get into the NFL, hopefully I'll have the degree behind me and I can go into something in medicine maybe become a doctor."