Staff Change Impacts Underwood

North Carolina commitment Shawn Underwood learned of John Blake's resignation shortly before the school dispatched the press release on Sunday.

Underwood was informed that Blake would be stepping down by John Shoop, his UNC area recruiter.

"They didn't want to surprise me," Underwood said. "[Shoop] said that due to all the negative attention that we were getting – that I guess [Blake] was getting – from the investigation that Coach Blake didn't want to put more attention on the school than he already has. So [Blake] wanted to go ahead, I guess, take himself out of the situation, so our school would be better off.

"My mind basically went blank. I was thinking about it for quite awhile. [Blake] was basically one of the main reasons that I was going to the school, because I wanted to learn from the best. I guess we'll have to see [who UNC hires as] the defensive [line] coach – if he's a cool guy and if he's going to teach me to the best of his ability."

Underwood, a 6-foot-2, 318-pound defensive tackle from Fuquay-Varina (N.C.) says his commitment to UNC, which he made in mid-July, is "not as solid as it has been."

"I probably most likely won't de-commit, unless I don't like whoever the defensive line coach is," Underwood said.

Underwood stated that he is now softening his commitment to the point of being willing to listen to outside schools.

"I guess my options are open to other schools," Underwood said. "But I still have UNC on the top of my list. Basically, I want to see what other schools are talking about. But I'm still, pretty much, committed to UNC."

Furthermore, Underwood said he figures to visit other schools, unofficially and "possibly" officially. Outside of attending all of UNC's home games, he doesn't have any set plans and figures to take his official visits after the football season.

South Carolina and Wake Forest are the only schools Underwood knows for sure he'll look into.

On Sunday, Underwood attended East Carolina's last-second victory over Tulsa as a guest of a friend who was making a recruiting trip.

"It was a great game," Underwood said. "But, I don't think [ECU] is a school for me."

Since Sept. 1 when institutions are permitted to call recruits once per week, UNC is the only school to have phoned Underwood.

"It's probably because I've had my number changed [and] I haven't really gotten it out there," Underwood said.

In late July, it was believed that Underwood suffered a tear to his quad muscle and would miss two months of action. However, the injury turned out to be just a strain and he only missed Fuquay-Varina's season opener.

In two games, Underwood, who was admittedly rusty, has nine tackles and two sacks.

Last season, Underwood started both ways for Fuquay-Varina. This season, though, he is playing exclusively defense.

"We have a lot of role players this year, as far as offense goes," Underwood said. "So they don't need me that much [on offense]."

Fuquay-Varina is undefeated and beating opponents by an average score of 37-7.

"To be honest with you, I think we can contend for the state championship" Underwood said. "We have the size and the speed this year."

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