Signee Update: Shawn Underwood

North Carolina signee Shawn Underwood will be defending his shot put title this weekend at the NCHSAA 4A State Track Meet.

"We worked real hard [Monday]," Underwood said. "I actually threw about 60 feet in the shot put. So I'm real confident in that."

Underwood, who placed first in the regional meet with a throw of 54-9.5, has a recorded best put of 55-1.5, which he did during the conference championship meet.

With limited practice, Underwood placed second in the shot put at the indoor state track meet this past winter.

"Because I was bored one day, I decided to qualify for the indoor state track meet," Underwood said.

Underwood also qualified to compete in the discus during this weekend's state track meet.

"In the discus, it's going to be a challenge going up against Courtland Clavette [of Asheville (N.C.) Reynolds]," Underwood said. "He won state last year."

Underwood failed to qualify for the state track meet in the discus as a junior after scratching three times during the regional meet. His personal best discus throw is 158-4.

A case of "senioritis" has lead to Underwood not working out as much as he had hoped to.

"I've been working out, but not as hard as I should," Underwood said. "I've been doing my high school workouts. But I'm about to start doing [UNC's] running workouts and just stick with my school's [weight room] workouts. We run every day, but not like I should."

Regardless, Underwood has maintained a weight of 295 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame.

"I've been keeping a steady weight ever since the end of the football season, which is weird because I usually gain about 30 pounds," Underwood said.

A year ago, Underwood weighed nearly 330 pounds. He was able to trim down to 285 for the football season, though.

"It's easier for me to move when I weigh less – there's less dragging on me," Underwood said. "It just came off by itself [last year] – I didn't really work hard for it to come off. It came off with all the running we do in practice."

The UNC coaches would like Underwood to be about 300 pounds when he arrives on campus on June 15.

Underwood has witnessed a lot of turnover at the defensive line coach position. He verbally committed to John Blake last July. Blake resigned a couple of months later and was temporarily replaced by Charlie Coiner. Underwood signed with Brian Baker, who was hired in January, as the defensive line coach and had begun to establish a relationship with him. Days after Signing Day, Baker left for the NFL and was replaced by Joe Robinson.

"When Coach Baker left, I knew he had a pretty good reason to leave," Underwood said. "He left to coach for one of the best teams in the NFL. I would have gone, too. So I really wasn't upset about that whole situation.

"I was talking to my coaches at my high school and they said Coach [Butch] Davis helps out with the defensive linemen most of the time. So basically, that would be my defensive line coach, anyway."

Underwood has yet to establish a relationship with Robinson.

"We haven't really talked as much as I would like to," Underwood said. "He's supposed to come see me, but I don't know when."

With all the turnover, UNC's game plan for Underwood is very much up in the air.

"When Coach Baker was there, he said he was going to work me in to nose [tackle]," Underwood said. "But when I've talked to Coach Robinson, we haven't really discussed that."

Since Blake resigned, Sam Pittman has held Underwood's recruitment together.

"Coach Pittman and I have a real good relationship," Underwood said. "When we talk, we just talk about school and how my grades are doing. He basically asks how my family is doing, especially my grandfather who has cancer."

Underwood's grandfather, who Underwood considers to be the biggest UNC fan he knows, had a major influence on his decision to select UNC.

Pittman has paired Underwood to room with fellow defensive tackle Devonte Brown.

Despite discussions, Underwood is uncertain of his UNC jersey numbers.

"When I took my official visit, we talked about jersey numbers," Underwood said. "I wanted the No. 9, but I don't know if that's going to happen or not. I'm not trying to be like Marvin Austin – I just really like that number. I wanted to keep my number from high school, 59, but it turns out it's retired [in honor of Andy Bershak]. In the NFL, you never see linemen in the single digits, so I guess [linemen] want to live out their dream of feeling like a skilled player with their jersey in college."

Underwood may actually receive a chance to live out his dream of being a skilled played for UNC, literally.

"Coach [John] Shoop made an agreement that he was going to put together some sort of package where I'd be the fullback," Underwood said.

Fuquay-Varina had a similar package for Underwood.

"I was out there as an extra blocker [for Fuquay-Varina]," Underwood said. "We had plays to give me the ball, but we never used them in a game."

Underwood, who projects as a qualifier by the NCAA Clearinghouse, is undecided on a major.

"I decided to go in undecided, because I like to change my mind a lot," Underwood said. "Going in with an open mind will be the best thing for me."

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