Underwood Added To Ohio's Big 33 Roster

Hamilton, Ohio, CB Brandon Underwood will be the eighth Ohio State signee on the Ohio roster for the July 24 Big 33 Football Classic in Hershey, Pa. Underwood talks about that honor as well as how he has spent his summer. Click here for all of that as well as more details on the Big 33, including television coverage plans.

Hamilton, Ohio, cornerback Brandon Underwood has been named as a late addition to the Ohio roster for the 2004 Big 33 Football Classic, set for July 24 at Hershey, Pa.

Underwood, an Ohio State signee, was also a late addition to the Ohio All-Star Classic in June. He gives Ohio State 12 players in the game between an Ohio all-star team and one from Pennsylvania. Eight future Buckeyes will be on the Ohio team, while four will toil for Pennsylvania.

"It's a big opportunity for me," Underwood said. "This game is bigger than the North-South game. I love competition. We'll be going against the best in Pennsylvania. I'll be playing with guys like Ted Ginn and Erik Haw. It should be real interesting."

Since the Ohio All-Star Classic, Underwood has joined his brother, OSU junior defensive back E.J. Underwood, in Columbus for summer conditioning with the Buckeyes.

"It's faster paced than in high school," Underwood said. "You get in the weight room, get your work done and get out. You do everything as hard as you can go. It's all full-go. In high school, sometimes you can let up. But here you can't because somebody is always watching you."

When asked who has impressed him the most this summer, Underwood replied, "Everybody works hard. I'd have to say probably (defensive end) Mike Kudla. To watch him work out, it's unbelievable."

The Underwoods were home in Hamilton this morning before heading back to campus tonight to participate in seven-on-seven workouts.

"We've been going to that every Tuesday," Brandon Underwood said. "In fact, we're headed back up there now."

He will join the rest of his Ohio Big 33 teammates on Sunday to begin the trek to Hershey and start preparing for the game.

Star-Studded Game

Joining Underwood on the Ohio roster will be these future Buckeyes: RB Erik Haw, LB Brandon Smith, WR-CB Ted Ginn Jr., DB Sirjo Welch, TE-LB Chad Hoobler, OL Ben Person and DE Alex Barrow.

Future Buckeyes on the Pennsylvania team include WR Devon Lyons, OL Kyle Mitchum, TE Rory Nicol and OL Jon Skinner.

The Ohio roster includes 27 players who have signed with BCS-aligned schools, while the Pennsylvania team will feature 26 players headed to BCS schools.

Overall, the game will feature eight of the nation's top 100 players, according to TheInsidersRecruiting.com. Only one top-100 player will be on the Ohio squad in Ginn. Six will be on the Pennsylvania side, including a pair of the nation's top 20 overall prospects in QBs Anthony Morelli (Penn State) and Chad Henne (Michigan). Other top-100 players from Pennsylvania due to play include Mitchum, Nicol, LB James Bryant (Miami, Fla.), RB Andrew Johnson (Miami, Fla.) and OL-DL A.Q. Shipley (Penn State).

Other notables on the Ohio team, coached by Toledo St. John's coach Doug Pearson, include RB Tony Howard (Michigan State), QB Brian Hoyer (Michigan State), WR Miles Williams (Michigan State), OL Gerald Cadogan (Penn State), OL Chauncey Incarnato (Notre Dame) and DE Mike Massey (Michigan).

The Pennsylvania squad is coached by former OSU assistant George Chaump, now the head coach at Harrisburg High School.

Speaking after the Ohio All-Star Classic, Hoobler said he was looking forward to being a part of the Big 33.

"I'm real excited for that game," he said. "I want to do the same thing for that game. We'll have kids from the North team on our team, too. I think that will be a lot of fun. It's been fun to get to know some of my future teammates better."

Person was also excited about representing his state.

"There were a lot of Ohio State guys on our team (for the Ohio All-Star Classic) with Chad and Erik, Brandon Underwood and Sirjo and a few others," Person said. "I got to meet a lot of the guys I hadn't met before. It was fun blocking for Erik. He's one of those backs who is always talking to his linemen.

"The Big 33 is going to be fun. I think we've already started to bond pretty well. Going back for the Big 33 will be like a reunion. It should be a blast."

The game is set for a 7 p.m. start July 24. PNC Bank is the title sponsor for the Big 33, which has matched up all-star teams from various states throughout its 47-year history. The Ohio-Pennsylvania rivalry has been continuous since 1993 with Pennsylvania holding a 6-5 edge in that time period.

The Ohio squad broke a three-year losing skid last year with a resounding 38-7 win. The Big 33 is nicknamed the "Super Bowl of High School Football." There has never been an NFL Super Bowl played without a Big 33 alum.

Unfortunately, the game will air only on a tape delay basis in Ohio on Fox Sports Net Ohio due to baseball commitments on July 24. It will air in Ohio on July 29 from 7-10 p.m. The game will be shown live on WHTM-TV (Ch. 27) in Harrisburg, Pa., as well as on Fox Sports Pittsburgh, Service Electric Cable in the Lehigh Valley and on CN8 in Philadelphia.

Tickets are $6 and $12 and can be reserved by calling (717) 774-3303.

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