Height: 6-1 Weight: 185 Age: 28
Born: 2/17/1987 New Brunswick , NJ
Selected By: Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick (Overall): 44 (253)
Underwood is an unheralded athlete who had to take a back seat to the team's emphasis for a strong running game earlier in his career. But given an opportunity as a junior, he went on to etch his name into the school record books. The cat-quick moves, long wing-span, outstanding leaping ability and sure hands allowed the talented receiver to become just the second player in school history to gain more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season, joining Tres Moses (1,056 yards in 2004).
His stellar performances on the field forced the opposition to place constant double coverage on him the second part of 2007. That allowed fellow receiver Kenny Britt to match Underwood's exploits, as he tallied 1,232 yards receiving last season. They became just the 26th tandem in NCAA history and the first in Big East Conference annals to gain more than 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
At Notre Dame High School, Underwood earned All-County honors as a sophomore wide receiver and was again recognized as an All-County quarterback during his junior campaign. He returned to the receiving unit as a senior, catching 17 passes for more than 400 yards with five touchdowns in the team's first two games before an injury in the third contest would sideline him for the rest of 2004.
In 2003, Underwood completed 70 of 103 passes for 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns, as he also rushed for two touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 212 yards with five scores. During his sophomore campaign, he made 35 catches for 606 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Underwood was the starting point guard on the school's basketball team as a sophomore and junior, leading the team in scoring in 2003-2004. He also competed in hurdles and triple jump for outdoor track team, where he set the state record for sophomores and juniors in the triple jump.
During his first season at Rutgers, Underwood was a jack of all-trades. He saw action at both receiving positions, in addition to lining up as a quarterback to take direct snaps in shotgun formation. He only threw the ball once, resulting in an interception, but gained 63 yards on the ground, as five of 16 carries resulted in first downs. He snatched four passes for 47 yards and fielded two punts for no gain, fumbling one in the Insight Bowl. He led the Big East Conference and ranked 19th in the nation, averaging 27.1 yards on 11 kickoff returns for 298 yards in 2004.
Underwood changed from jersey No. 10 that he wore as a freshman to jersey No. 7 for his 2005 campaign. He took over flanker duties in the team's fifth game when Shawn Tucker suffered a season-ending ankle injury. He finished fourth on the team with 23 receptions for 290 yards (12.6 avg), leading the Scarlet Knights with four touchdowns. A broken bone in his right foot in the regular-season finale would sideline him for the Insight Bowl.
Eighteen of his catches produced first downs, converting five third-down plays in the process. In addition to his four touchdowns, he had key catches that set up five other touchdown drives and three series that ended with field goals. He also returned one kickoff for 11 yards and recorded three tackles (2 solos), including one for a 2-yard loss.
As a junior, Underwood earned All-American third-team accolades and was a consensus All-Big East Conference choice. He led the team with 65 receptions, the third-best season total in school history, as his 1,100 yards rank second on the Rutgers' annual record chart. He had seven touchdown grabs, along with 55 first downs, converting 20 third-down catches. Forty-two of his grabs were for 10 yards or longer, including 18 for at least 20 yards. He had key catches to set up 13 other touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights and nine others that led to team field goals. He also registered seven touchdown-resulting blocks.
Underwood entered the 2008 season as one of the premier pass catchers in college football. A member of the AFCA "Good Works" team for his outstanding work in the community, he was also named to the Maxwell Award Watch List. He garnered All-American second-team preseason recognition, in addition to being a unanimous All-Big East preseason pick. He ranked second on the team with 40 receptions for 494 yards (12.4 avg) and five touchdowns in 13 games. He also gained 337 yards on 18 kickoff returns (18.7 avg) and assisted on two tackles, in addition to returning a blocked punt 70 yards.