by Tawni Ricketts, Daily Vidette Sports Editor
Colton Underwood was born with the blood of a Redbird. As the son of Scott and Donna Underwood, both of whom attended ISU and participated in Redbird athletics, the junior knew where he wanted to end up.
Underwood followed directly in his fathers footsteps, which ultimately led him to his current role as a defensive end for the Illinois State football team.
Scott Underwood served as a defensive end for the Redbirds from
1986-89, while Donna Underwood played on the ISU volleyball team from
My high school coach played here too, so I had a lot of ties to
Illinois State, but I wasnt going to let that affect my decision [to
attend college at ISU] fully, Colton Underwood said.
While initially recruited under the former ISU coaching staff,
Underwood continued pursuing other college options, which included
Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
[When] the new coaching staff came in I came here for a camp, and I
just fell in love with the school and fell in love with the coaching
staff and what they stood for and thats basically what made my decision
[to attend ISU], Colton Underwood said.
We let Colton make that choice as to where he wanted to go, and we
all thought [ISU] was the best school for him, Scott Underwood said.
So I was really happy he made that choice, but he did make it on his
own. Hes made us really proud Hes turned into a whole lot better
football player than I ever was.
However, Underwood didnt carry on the family legacy alone. His
younger brother, redshirt freshman Connor Underwood, serves as a
linebacker for the Indiana State Sycamores a fellow Missouri Valley
Football Conference team, whom Illinois State will play on Saturday.
The meeting of the teams will mark the first time the Underwood brothers have played on the same field since 2010.
I didnt get to see him play for three years because I was [at ISU]
and he was in high school, and then he red-shirted [his freshman year
at Indiana State], Colton Underwood explained. I went [two weeks ago]
to watch him play Western, but we havent played with each other since
Having coached both of his sons from their junior football years
through both of their high school careers, Scott Underwood is accustomed
to making every one of his sons games. However, since the two now
attend different colleges, he is faced with the challenge of balancing
two different game schedules.
We have a pretty big family, so somebody from our family is always
at one of their games, but its weird for me because its the first time
Ive ever missed either one of them play football. But its also a good
problem to have, Scott Underwood said.
Its great that theyre both doing so well, and theyre both
starting. Weve actually made it even Ive seen the same amount of
Coltons games as Ive seen of Connors games this year. Its just a lot
of traveling and a lot of running around, but it is well worth it.
Despite holding positions on the defensive side of the game, Colton
Underwood and his father both recorded a touchdown apiece.
My grandma and grandpa like to tell his stories a lot, Colton
Underwood said. He had an interception, and he got in the end zone and
they had to bring him oxygen all of the players piled up on him.
Theres a nice picture my grandma always shows to me of him with an oxygen mask on, he said, laughing.
But while Colton, like his father, has seen success on the gridiron,
Scott Underwood recognizes that the fondest memories are the ones that
go beyond what happens on the field.
I keep telling both of the boys its the friendships theyre making
on the field right now that are the memories that theyll keep
forever, he said.
Its incredible the friendships you make while youre playing a sport like football thats so tough on your body and everything you have to count on those guys, and I think thats probably my favorite memory.
Colton Underwood currently heads the team in second place in overall
defense, with 78 total tackles on the season, including 16.5 tackles
for loss and 8.5 sacks.
It [was] great to be able to spend time [coaching] [Colton and
Connor] and to see them develop and grow into the young men they are and
the football players they are, Scott Underwood said. I am very