Colton Underwood is an American reality TV personality and former footballer. He played as a football tight end for ‘Illinois State’ and was then signed by the 'San Diego Chargers.' He was also part of the practice teams of the 'Oakland Raiders' and the 'Philadelphia Eagles.' Technically, Colton does not have an official ‘National Football League’ (NFL) career graph, as he never made it to the regular roster of any of the teams he played for. His last football stint was with the 'Raiders.' He eventually retired due to an injury. After retiring from football, Colton appeared in the two popular dating reality series, 'The Bachelorette' and 'The Bachelor.' Colton is currently in a relationship with one of his fellow contestants on 'The Bachelor.' Even though Colton is no more associated with football as a player, he has used his fame as a footballer for his self-titled non-profit organization that works for cystic fibrosis patients.
Childhood & Early Life
Colton was born on January 26, 1992, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to 'Illinois State University' star athletes Scott and Donna Underwood. Scott played college football for the 'Illinois State Redbirds,' while Donna was a volleyball player. Colton's younger brother, Connor, has played football for ‘Indiana State.’
Colton was raised in Washington, Illinois. His parents are divorced. Colton has several half-siblings from his parents' second marriages.
Colton attended the 'Washington Community High School' and the 'Illinois State University.' Like his father, he, too, played football for the 'Illinois State Redbirds.' He was a star defensive end for the 'Redbirds.'
Colton was rated a two-star recruit in his high-school senior year, although a talented high-school player is usually a five-star recruit. In spite of that, his performance brought remarkable scores for 'Washington Community.'
Colton's achievements for 'Washington Community' earned him interest from prominent schools such as ‘Wisconsin’ and ‘Iowa.’ However, following in his parents' footsteps, Colton chose ‘Illinois.’
Colton has been a 'Buck Buchanan Award' finalist twice. The award is presented to the best defensive player in the 'Division I Football Championship Subdivision.' Colton started his football career as a freshman in 2010 and finished with two sacks, eventually becoming a full-time starter in 2011.
For ‘Illinois,’ Colton's career-high has been four stops at ‘No. 19 Northern Illinois.’ He also picked up a sack against ‘No. 24 Western Illinois.’ He got his first career sack against ‘South Dakota State.’ Colton's college football career ended with 45 games and 215 tackles. He earned the third spot for tackles-for-loss (44) and the fourth spot for career sacks in the history of ‘Illinois State.’
The year 2012 became Colton's breakthrough year, after he set a career-high 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles-for-loss. He received offers from several associations, such as 'All-America by The Walter Camp Football Foundation,' 'The Associated Press,' and 'The Sports Network.'
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Colton's professional football career began on May 10, 2014, after he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 'San Diego Chargers.' He entered the team as an outside linebacker and was waived on August 30, 2014.
Following this, on September 3, 2014, Colton was chosen by the 'Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad and was released 6 days later. On September 23, 2014, Colton was back with the 'Chargers' and was signed to their practice squad. On December 29 that year, he signed a contract with the 'Chargers.'
For 'Chargers,' Colton geared up for the preseason games. In his first ‘NFL’ game, he scored two tackles. On September 5, 2015, the 'Chargers' surrendered Colton, and he was placed on injured reserve the next day. His injured reserve status, too, was taken back on September 10, 2015.
On December 1, 2015, Colton joined the 'Raiders' but was not included in the roster. He remained with their practice squad. He was waived on August 29, 2016.
Colton suffered a ligament tear and a joint-break in his left shoulder on the first day of his padded practice with the 'Raiders.' The injury eventually ended Colton's football career.
After retiring from football, Colton turned toward TV and entered the 14th season of the 'ABC' dating reality show 'The Bachelorette.' He was eliminated in the eighth week and, by then, had made it to the final four. He then joined the cast of the fifth season of another dating reality show, 'Bachelor in Paradise.' On the show, he was linked to fellow contestant Tia Booth. He later broke up with her on the show and left the show in its fourth week.
On September 4, 2018, 'ABC' announced Colton's participation in the 23rd season of 'The Bachelor.' The announcement faced a lot of opposition, as the audiences wanted Blake Horstmann or Jason Tartick on the show. Despite that, Colton joined the show as announced by the channel, on September 21, 2018. By then, he had even met three fellow contestants on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'
On 'The Bachelorette,' Colton raised eyebrows for constantly bragging about retaining his virginity. He also acknowledged the show for giving him a platform to discuss the same with people.
Family & Personal Life
Colton's first publicized relationship was with ‘Olympic’ gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman. They started dating in 2016 and made their relationship public in December that year at the 'Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year’ ceremony in New York. The event also marked their red carpet debut as a couple. However, they broke up in 2017.
Colton then started a relationship with his fellow 'The Bachelor' contestant, Cassie Randolph. Many felt the relationship was staged and that it was meant only for promoting the show. In March 2019, Colton and Cassie confirmed that they were still in a relationship, long after the show had ended.
While on the show, Cassie had initially had a break-up with Colton. However, Colton truly loved her and thus went against the rules of the show to profess his love for her. Colton still had to woo Cassie to win her heart.
After the show ended, Colton moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Cassie, who lived in Huntington Beach back then. Eventually, they both began living in Hollywood, though not together. They have stated on Jenny McCarthy's ‘SiriusXM' show that they might chronicle their wedding in the form of a TV series.
Currently, Colton and Cassie are planning to film another reality show, possibly on their relationship. However, they have also stated that they do not have enough stories that might fascinate the audience.
In January 2016, Colton launched the 'Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation' that works to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research and medical equipment. Even though it was named after him, Colton had started the foundation to honor his cousin Harper, who was diagnosed with the disease when she was 4 years old.
The foundation was initially aided by private and corporate donations. In just 3 years, it became financially enabled to support and provide resources for cystic fibrosis patients and their families. In January 2018, the foundation started the 'Legacy Project,' intending to provide 'Afflovests' (chest wall oscillation devices to clear lung passages, as part of the regular treatment for cystic fibrosis) to children across the US.