Shawn Underwood’s a rising junior at 6’1’’, 300 pounds. He’s also a force to be reckoned with. Underwood will enter next season as the upfront anchor in Coach Larry Fedora’s defensive scheme. The question is, what can Tar Heel nation expect from the big man?
Shawn had 12 solo tackles last season, 19 tackles total. He was the foundation of the defense in that he was the first line of resistance for the Tar Heels. The defensive tackle from Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, is a large run-stopper. He takes up a lot of space—which is vastly underappreciated in college football. Without the big boys up front, the defense is shredded apart by a team with any semblance of a running game. The team that controls the clock often times controls the outcome.
Underwood has struggled some in other aspects of the game though. How about the fact he didn’t have any sacks? I understand that he’s a defensive tackle, but Tar Heel nation needs Shawn to take the quarterback down more often next season. Underwood has incredible size and talent. It’s time he steps up and uses all of it.
Besides the fact that he’s had pretty impressive numbers this season, it’s enlightening to look at the whole picture. Shawn Underwood missed four games. That’s right. He missed 33% of this season and finished just under 20 tackles. Imagine next year.
As an underclassman, it only helps Shawn that he’s looking at another two years in Larry Fedora’s defensive scheme. Two more years will make Underwood a true leader on the line. He’s done a lot, but there will definitely be more to come. UNC Tar Heel nation needs to pay more attention to this defensive tackle. It’s important to note that with Underwood, there is incredibly high upside potential.