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August 26, 2011
Redshirt freshman wide out Bryan Underwood originally signed with the Wolfpack in 2009. However, he didn't get on campus until last fall and redshirted after arriving with a trio of seniors atop the depth chart at receiver. He feels that now is his time to make an impact on the field for NC State, although he admits that he welcomed the adjustment period last season with open arms.
"Last year, I was redshirted and that kind of helped me slow the game down, get up to the college speed and stay focused on getting better for what I'm trying to come in and do this year," he said. "I learned a lot [from last year's seniors]. They showed me different ways to release, different combos that you can do with routes, how to get open with different routes. I learn a lot from just watching them on the field and watching film of them. It was really helpful."
It's no secret that the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder's biggest weapon is his impressive speed. However, he's been working hard to become a well-rounded offensive weapon.
"I'd say I'm pretty quick and I have good separation speed," the University Heights, Ohio native said. "I need to work on getting in the playbook better, getting my head in the book. And I need to work on my releases. Other than that, I think I'm pretty solid heading into this year."
Due to injuries, the speedster said he received only about two years worth of experience on the prep level. However, he feels confident heading into 2011.
"I think I've improved in getting a feel for football," he said. "I played probably only about two years in high school. I was injured my sophomore year so I came in here and I left home pretty raw but I've gotten better in what I need to do."
This offseason, Underwood concentrated on his footwork, catching the football and route running. Senior receiver T.J. Graham, another speedster, helped him in all of those areas with his instruction and creative drills.
"He invents drills with tennis balls, he'll throw them at you," Underwood explained. "He'll throw one at you then two sometimes and he'll twist them. It's a pretty good drill, it helped me with my hand-eye coordinator and watching the ball in. It was helpful and it's always fun to keep it fresh and work on different crafts.
"T.J. is who I look up to, he keeps me motivated every day. He keeps me positive and just helps me keep my head on right. He tells me to take it one day at a time and focus on that."
In addition to working out wide as a receiver, Underwood could make contributions this fall as a special teams player. He's willing to do whatever is needed to get on the field.
"I'll contribute wherever they need me and as much as they need," he said. "I'll play returner, gunner, anything that helps us win."
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