Underwood originally signed with NC State in 2009 after considering offers from Cincinnati, Colorado, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tulsa, Texas Tech, Kansas, NC State, Boston College, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Michigan among others.
However, he failed to qualify academically for admission in the fall and elected to enroll at Union Christian Prep, a prep academy based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The school and football program wasn't exactly what Underwood expected it to be.
"Last year when I didn't make it into NC State I received a call from a coach at Union Christian," said Underwood. "It sounded good to me over the phone, and I thought I had to go to prep school so that's where I went. The thing is, it ended up being a big waste of time.
"The whole thing turned out to be a scam. There were 50 or something kids in the school and it was just us... the football team. We were the school. Everything we did there just turned out to be a waste of time. I left the school and came back home sometime in August or September."
At that point, Underwood wasn't sure he would ever make it to NC State.
"I really didn't think I was going to make it after I left that prep school because I didn't think I could do anything on my own with the ACT scores," he said. "I wasn't even sure I could stay at home and keep testing. Once I found that out, I started studying and doing as much as I could."
Short on his ACT score, Underwood took the test again in October and received a positive result that gave him some confidence he may have been lacking.
"I took the test in October and I got back a 20 on the ACT," he said. "After talking with the coaches I found out that I needed just one more point and that made me feel good... knowing I was real close. Around then was when I started thinking that I could still make it."
While at home, Underwood focused on his academics and stayed in contact with the NC State coaching staff.
"I mainly have been talking with coach Don Horton and coach Jamison," he said. "I kept updating them on how things were going, and then when I received the score I needed I began the process of trying to enroll in January."
Underwood received his latest test scores in mid-December, and actually scored two points higher, making him academically qualified for enrollment at NC State. However, because of timing constraints, he was unable to enroll in January.
"I basically missed enrolling for the spring by one day," he said. "We kept trying to get done what we needed to do for me to come in this past week. My coaches and the NC State coaches were trying to get in me in but there wasn't really anything we could do. At the end of the day I couldn't get all the paperwork in on time so we decided that I would enroll at NC State in June.
"The good news is that I'm fully qualified and ready to go... the coaches at NC State were really excited about that. I'm going to work out with my high school football and track teams, and I'm taking a couple of classes right now at my community college."
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder was considered one of State's top recruits in the 2009 class. A three-year starter at wide receiver for University Heights (OH) Cleveland Heights High School, pulled down 16 catches for 156 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. During his junior season Underwood played in a pass-oriented attack and tallied 40 catches for 573 yards and seven scores.
Underwood is as explosive a receiver you will find in the prep ranks. He has another gear, and has been timed as low as 4.31 in the 40-yard dash. He has the ability to beat defensive backs for jumpballs and is a threat to score every time he touches the football.
While at home he was able to catch a few Wolfpack games.
"I pretty much watched a couple of games on television and watched the rest of them on the Internet," he said. "It was kind of sad to see all the players go down, but we still ended up beating [North] Carolina so that's good.
"The plan is for me to come in and play wide receiver. I'm looking forward to playing with [Russell] Wilson and Mike Glennon."
"I'm ready to get down to NC State and enroll in college," Underwood added. "I know I'll be going down to stay a couple of days for the spring game... I'll get to talk with the coaches and players more then."
Underwood indicated that he remains firmly committed to NC State and will sign with the Wolfpack in February.
"I'm going to NC State," he said. "I'm not talking to any other schools."