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Samford Bound Aggie

Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 by Shannon Allen

Samford-bound Aggie


Published August 20, 2009

Sunday proved to be a special day in Zach Underwood’s football career, as the Albertville senior offensive lineman verbally committed to Samford University.

The Bulldogs compete in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, formerly I-AA.

Samford, which is a member of the Southern Conference, finished 6-5 in 2008.

The Bulldogs’ head coach is former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan.

“Me and my dad talked about it for a while, me and pretty much the whole family discussed it, and we decided that Samford was going to be the best fit for me playing-wise, academic-wise, just everything,” Underwood said. “It’s close to home, and it’s a great school.

“I’m really excited. It’s a great time to be a Samford Bulldog right now.

“They’ve got a lot of stuff going on down there, like brand new facilities, and Coach Sullivan’s got things going really good down there. I’m excited about it.”

Underwood’s parents are Keith and Rhonda Underwood and Kim and Anthony Jackson.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Underwood also had a scholarship offer from Louisville.

Auburn, Vanderbilt, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Murray State and Wofford are among the other schools that recruited him.

Underwood’s terrific performance in a summer camp grabbed the attention of the Samford coaching staff.

“I went down to camp, and they really liked the way I moved around,” he recalled. “They told me I really showed out during drills.

“They just told me they liked me, and they wanted to offer me. They can’t offer on campus, so they told me to call after. I called about 30 minutes after.”

Sullivan extended the scholarship offer to Underwood.

“He’s the one who offered me the scholarship, so that was pretty neat,” he said. “Definitely an honor from the head coach.”

The Bulldogs project Underwood as a guard or center.

He played center for the Aggies the last couple of years, but new head coach Joel Poole moved him to guard.

“They’re going to have a lot of vacant spots on the offensive line, because they’re losing several guys over the next two years, so I should get a chance to play pretty early,” Underwood said.

The big Aggie senior meets the NCAA’s eligibility requirements. He carries a 3.7 grade-point average and scored a 23 on the ACT.

Underwood has dreamed of playing college football since childhood.

“It started in first grade really,” he said. “That was my goal — I wanted to play college football.

“It’s great to be there and just have that opportunity in front of me.”

Underwood’s early commitment will allow him to concentrate on the Aggie football season.

“It definitely puts my primary focus on Albertville right now, which is where it needs to be,” he said. “We’re good on that and just ready to roll the senior season now.”

Underwood is the only returning starter on Albertville’s offensive line, but he’s confident this season’s group will succeed.

“It’s pretty much like last year’s offensive line, four seniors and a junior. It works out pretty good,” he said.

“We’ve got good chemistry together. We’ve still got some stuff to pick up on though.”

Poole coaches the offensive line. Underwood said the new coach has made a difference in the entire team.

“We work so much harder under Coach Poole,” he said. “It’s just that change of pace, and we’re still getting used to it.

“We’re not hardly standing around at practice. It’s going, just all the time. We’re still going hard in the weight room from the summer.”

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