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Underwood commits to N.C. State Lackawanna back will play in ACC

If only deciding what college to attend was as easy as deciding what hole to hit.

After much deliberation, Lackawanna running back Curtis Underwood has verbally committed to play football at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

"It's crazy and stressful. There were colleges coming out of the woodwork," said the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Underwood. "These colleges -- they don't pressure you, but there are a lot of good choices, and you have to think about what you want to become after football."

Underwood will sign his national letter of intent Feb. 7.

He was the runaway choice in 2006 as The Buffalo News Player of the Year and he won the 35th Connolly Cup. He was named to the All-New York State first team in Class B after rushing for a school record 2,124 yards and 20 TDs.

"He has done so much for our football program, not only this year, but he was one of few players who has been a starter since day one of his freshman year," said Lackawanna coach Bruce Lakso.

Underwood had scheduled official NCAA visits to Boston College, Maryland and the University at Buffalo, but canceled them after visiting N.C. State over the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

Before he left N.C. State, Underwood met with head coach Tom O'Brien and was offered a scholarship. After Underwood made a call to his mother, he accepted, telling O'Brien, "I'm proud to be a part of the Wolfpack."

In December, O'Brien was hired as coach after spending the past 10 seasons as head coach at Boston College. O'Brien had been recruiting Underwood for B.C. before changing addresses.

O'Brien succeeded Chuck Amato, who was fired in November after seven seasons. In 2006 the team finished 3-9 and failed to qualify for the postseason.

During his visit, Underwood said he got along well with the current players. One of the running backs encouraged him to choose N.C. State, and not be afraid of competition.

"A lot of freshmen get intimidated and want to go somewhere else instead of working for it," said Underwood. "I had a good feeling there. Coach O'Brien is very laid back and you can talk to him. Some guys you might not approach, but he probably has a good relationship with his players."

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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