OT Underwood enjoyed Junior Day

The Card would jump for joy with an OL commit

For someone who's only been playing football for 2.5 years, junior offensive tackle/tight end Cole Underwood (Guyer HS; Denton, Tex.) has put together quite a resume. In his standout junior year, the 6-foot-3, 255 pound blocking tight end helped lead his team to a 12 -3 record while attracting interest from college scouts across the country…

Cole Underwood spoke with TheBootleg.com in an exclusive interview this weekend to talk about his recruitment, his favorite schools and his experience at Stanford's Junior Day.

"It was a lot of fun," Underwood said of his recent trip to Palo Alto. "I got to actually lay eyes on the campus, instead of just looking at pictures. It's a big campus and it's a beautiful campus. All the people are great, and all the players and coaching staff are great, so it was a good experience."

Underwood, who reports offers from Illinois, TCU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Wake Forest, SMU, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern, among others, arrived in the Bay Area late Thursday night, and woke up early Friday morning for the start of Junior Day activities.

"We met with our position coaches and had breakfast with the rest of the team," Underwood said. "After that, it was basically just tours. We had a lot of admissions discussions, got to meet athletic trainers and even got to watch the players going through some drills. After that, we got to see a lot more of the campus and more of the player housing.

"Friday night, we got to spend some time with the players hanging out. We met that night and watched a movie as a team, and that was pretty much it. I actually hung out with most of the offensive line."

After sleeping over in the dorms on Friday night, Underwood enjoyed a day full of touring the Cardinal athletic facilities and meeting other recruits Saturday.

"We actually had several meetings," Underwood said. "It was great, because we were all together and got to ask lots of questions and get everything out of it that we could. It was good to talk to them about Admissions and also the parents were there so they could ask questions. We even had a player panel and got to ask the players questions."

One of the more eye-opening parts of Underwood's trip was the time he was able to spend with the Cardinal coaching staff.

"I actually got to talk to Coach Harbaugh, and he's a great guy - probably one of the most honest and down-to-earth personable coaches who I've met so far," Underwood said. "And on the same note, he's here to win and turn things around, so it was great meeting him.

"I got to have lots of one-on-one with the offensive line coach Greg Roman. He's coached in the NFL for many years and he's at Stanford now. He definitely knows his football. I know what he can make me into as far as a young man and a football player. He's a great guy. He's got a good sense of humor and a great personality, and he's in it to win it as well."

Underwood, who primarily plays tight end in high school, said that the Stanford staff is recruiting him as an offensive tackle, but that could change depending on how his body develops.

"They're not sure," he said. "They're going to see what my body does because I play tight end and tackle. But right now, I'm being recruited for the offensive line and tackle."

Now with the Stanford visit behind him, Underwood plans to work with his family to narrow down his choices, with the ultimate goal of making a decision sometime early in his senior year.

But when The Bootleg asked Underwood for his top five schools, it became apparent he still has a lot of trimming left to do.

"There's no particular order, but I'll say Stanford definitely stands out in all aspects of the University," he said. "Northwestern stands out as well, because they show so much interest and have a lot to offer academically, Nebraska has a great football program and a great tradition. I think I'm going to go with it's kind of a tie between Wake Forest, Kansas, and Kansas State, because they show a lot of interest and I need to look into the University a bit more. I think my No. 5 would be SMU, [but if Alabama offered,] they would definitely be in my top-five."

And after he takes more visits and gathers more information on the schools that have offered, Underwood plans to commit to the college that will best help him develop on and off the field.

"I want a school that's going to develop me athletically, academically and as a person," Underwood said. "I want to come out of there if not the same person, a better person. I want them to be able to help me and me being able to help them win football games and increase their graduation rate."

Underwood, who plans to major in sports management, says that he has not yet calculated his GPA but reports a three-part SAT score of 1580 with likely plans for a retake. At present, neither Scout.com nor Rivals.com has ranked the prospect.


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