By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
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Ashburn (February 11, 2016) — On January 26 — exactly six months after he originally verbally committed to Old Dominion — Stone Bridge High School senior interior offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis made a commitment to continue his football career at Division I University of Michigan starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“Ever since I was a young boy, I have been a Michigan fan,” the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Vastardis said. “My mom’s family is from Michigan, so I have watched Michigan play football my whole life. It is a top tier academic institution and a top tier football program. The current coaches at Michigan are the best in the country, so learning from them is something every player dreams of.”
The Michigan Wolverines are coached by Jim Harbaugh– who helped lead them to a 10-3 record in his first season back in college football after coaching the NFL San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. The Wolverines were victorious in a rout of the Florida Gators in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, 41-7. Although a preferred walk-on, Vastardis plans to make the best of it.
“I plan to actively contribute to making Michigan one of the top football programs in the country,” Vastardis said. “It is my goal to help Michigan win multiple national championships. People that know me, know that my work ethic is unrelenting. I plan to take this to Ann Arbor and combine it with the best coaching and players in the country.”
In 2015, Vastardis helped lead the Bulldogs to a VHSL 5A state championship, but their efforts fell short with a loss to Highland Springs. Following his senior season, he was named first team all-Conference 14, first team all-VHSL 5A North region and first team Cheers and LoCoSports All-LoCo.
“Ever since we lost in the state championship my freshman year, my class has been working hard to get back there,” Vastardis said. “The guys on the team called this year ‘The Return’ because we were focusing on going back to the state championship. When it did not look like we would get there, the players never gave up and kept working together to achieve our goal. When we got there, a true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction was what I felt.”
The Ashburn-native mentioned that he plays football because it defines who he is.
“I love the game of football,” Vastardis said. “It defines who I am as a student-athlete: if you work hard in school and work hard in football, all your goals can be achieved. Football is the only sport that allows you to take all the stored-up emotion inside and release it on the field. This by itself is an amazing feeling! I have been playing tackle football ever since I was eight. From the first time I put on my helmet, cleats and pads, it was all I ever wanted to do.”