Former ISU star joins The Bachelorette fray

The tweet by @RedbirdFB says it all.


That's right, coming to a reality TV screen near you (or phone or tablet or however you watch your favorite shows these days) is former All-American defensive star Colton Underwood.

Illinois State fans remember Underwood fondly as the 6-foot-4, 255-pound dynamo who is one of three Redbird players in program history to be a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation's top defender. They also remember him as the local boy who made good. Growing up in nearby Washington, Ill., Underwood is the son of two former ISU student-athletes:   his father, Scott, played football from 1986-89 while his mother, Donna (Zajeski) was an ISU volleyball player from 1986-90.

When his ISU career came to a close, Underwood had played in 45 games and registered 215 tackles. He ranked No. 3 in career tackles-for-loss with 44 and No. 4 on the career sacks list with 21.5. He gave pro football a shot, spending time in preseason camps with three different NFL teams. 

Underwood & Raisman (People magazine photo)

Underwood & Raisman (People magazine photo)

Casual sports fans (or non-fans for that matter) probably know him better as the guy who dated Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman. According to the Peoria Journal Star, the pair ended things when distance strained their six-month-long relationship.

“We’re taking a break right now,” Underwood told the paper in a June phone interview. “We’re still good friends and talk, but all that travel had been a nightmare.”

Underwood's Twitter account lists his location as Highlands Ranch, Colo. He operates The Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization "to encourage youth participation in athletics and provide resources for research and support of people living with Cystic Fibrosis."

His @Colt3Five account states:  "2 star recruit turned 2 time All-American. Illinois State product. NFL try hard. Temporarily retired. Legacy Foundation. Every 3rd tweet is probably about a dog."

Reactions came quickly once the news broke. ISU sports information director Mike Williams and former Redbird turned Chicago Bears offensive lineman Cameron Lee were among those tweeting comments.


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