One thing I take issue with during the Bachelor and Bachelorette first episodes are the outrageous occupations these contestants come in with. Job titles like “Chicken Lover” or “Social Media Participant” grace millions of TV screens across the nation, but none give me such an eye-roll as “Former Professional A
Most of these men are in their mid-20s to late-30s, which would be the prime of their athletic careers, if they were to have had one. Even when former New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Montreal Alouettes QB Jess Palmer took a turn at dishing out roses instead of passes, there was a general consensus that he wasn’t a good quarterback.
So when Colton Underwood introduced himself as a former professional football player, I simply had to see if he was lying about his level of play.
High School Hits
Athleticism is in the Underwood family bloodline. Both Colton’s parents were Student-Athletes at Illinois State, and Colton’s brother Connor played football at Indiana State. The Underwood’s knew what it took to play at the college level parent’s no doubt about that.
During his senior year, Colton was rated a two-star recruit. For those of you unfamiliar, a superstar high school player is normally a five-star recruit. Ratings aside, Colton put up solid numbers for Washington Community High School.
Like many other high school stars, Colton excelled on both sides of the ball. In his Senior year, Colton posted 68 tackles (46 solo), eight sacks, as well as snagging an interception and a fumble. On offense, Colton rushed for 913 yards on 133 carries (6.9 yards a carry), finding the end-zone 13 times.
After putting up numbers like that, Colton was going to attract some interest from some solid schools. Big schools like Wisconsin, Iowa,
Colton’s time at Illinois State started with a bang, playing in 10 games accounting for 16 tackles. Excelling in big games, Colton got his first career sack during a win over No. 20 South Dakota State, then he had a career-high four stops at No. 19 Northern Illinois, and would pick up a sack against No. 24 Western Illinois. Big Game Underwood had arrived.
Colton Underwood ended his college career after playing 45 games, wrapping up 215 tackles, and holding the #3 spot in career tackles-for-loss (44) and the #4 spot for career sacks in Illinois State history.
Next Stop: The NFL.
This is where things get tricky. Unlike his ISU Redbirds teammate Defensive End Shelby Harris, Colton went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. Four days after the final pick, Colton received a call from the San Diego Chargers.
After making it through mini-camp, Colton had the opportunity to suit up for preseason games. Wasting no time at all, Colton’s first NFL game saw him rack up 2 tackles, one of which being a 15-yard sack. Playing in 26% of the defensive snaps, Colton was desperately trying to make his presence known. There was only one problem.
The Chargers had recently draft Notre Dame star Manti Te’o the previous year and their linebacker core was already solid. The uphill battle facing Colton would become too much. After snagging only 4 more tackles in the remaining 4 games, the Chargers cut him after their final preseason game.
From there, Colton would bounce around the waiver wire and practice squads. First, it was the Philadelphia Eagles for a week, then another stint in San Diego with the Chargers. Finally, Colton moved north to the Oakland Raiders, where he was cut for the last time on August 30th, 2016.
Since 2014 Colton Underwood has not played a snap of professional football game, but to say that he’s not a former professional player is not true. If anything, the fact that Colton went from a low-level recruit to being selected a 2012 All-American, is a triumph. That’s crazy. Going from undrafted free agent to suiting up for preseason games and getting a sack in his first game, that’s even more amazing.
Colton Underwood’s NFL career is legit. Even if it was short lived.
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