College Sports: Paulus weighs options
By Joedy McCreary
DURHAM ó Four years after choosing to play basketball at Duke, Greg Paulus is being recruited again.
The former Blue Devils point guard has plenty of options: He could enter his name in the NFL draft. He could transfer to Michigan ó or any of the unnamed schools he said have contacted him ó and try his luck at playing quarterback in college.
There’s only one place Paulus surely won’t play: Cameron Indoor Stadium. After exhausting his basketball eligibility, he still has one season left to play another sport. So the one-time high school signal caller is weighing one last shot at a football career.
Saying the interest shown by the Green Bay Packers and the Wolverines created “some pretty neat opportunities,” Paulus shed some light on the process Thursday during a brief meeting with reporters, his first since the football buzz surfaced.
He declined to say what schools besides Michigan have reached out to him, and didn’t offer a timeline for his decision.
“Trying to evaluate different programs, systems, as far as other colleges and universities,” Paulus said. “There’s been some contact there, and some interest, and as a result I’ve got to do my homework. Is this a good situation? Is there a chance to do what I want to do?”
What he wants to do, of course, is play quarterback. It’s unlikely to be at Duke because Thaddeus Lewis will return for his fourth year as the starter.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who groomed the Manning brothers into Super Bowl MVPs, said he considered Paulus as a slot receiver. But Paulus’ skills ó he was one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks in 2004 when he ran the spread for a high school in Syracuse, N.Y. ó would seem to create a better fit in Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez’s option-read offense than in Cutcliffe’s pro-style scheme.
“In my heart, playing football, quarterback is what I see myself as, and what I feel like I can help out with the best,” Paulus said. “I love Coach Cut … but I just felt like I could look into some other options that I felt were better for me.”
For most of the past four years, Paulus’ only flirtation with football came when he threw the ball around with his younger brother Mike, a quarterback at rival North Carolina. That all changed when the Packers called roughly a week after the Blue Devils’ basketball season ended with a loss to Villanova in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
“That was the initial spark, and I guess the rest has kind of taken off,” Paulus said. “I’m a little bit surprised at ó and appreciative of, at the same time ó the attention that it’s gotten.”
It reached a crescendo Tuesday when word leaked that he threw a few passes in front of Packers representatives. While that news caused a stir around the Duke program, Paulus that day was 650 miles away in Ann Arbor, Mich., meeting with Rodriguez and watching the Wolverines practice.
“It’s one thing to talk on the phone,” Paulus said. “It’s another thing to go out there and visit and learn, to build the relationship.”
Paulus didn’t offer many clues about which way he was leaning.
Switching to a Championship Subdivision school isn’t an option because of an NCAA rule change, he said. But he added that he would consider playing immediately for a Division II school if a move to Michigan or another big-name program didn’t work out.
“You look into if you have a chance to compete and play, then what is the situation there?” Paulus said. “The opportunity to do that and to have that chance is exciting, and something that I’ll analyze and dissect over time and try to figure out what is best for me.”