College Football: Duke’s Paulus chooses Syracuse
By Joedy McCreary
RALEIGH ó Greg Paulus is returning home to Syracuse to play football.
The former Duke point guard will enroll in graduate school at Syracuse and try to make a comeback in football for the Orange, he said Thursday.
“My gut and my heart were telling me that (Syracuse) was the best place for me,” Paulus said from Durham.
The decision ends a month of speculation whether the one-time star high school quarterback from Syracuse would resume his football career.
He worked out for the Green Bay Packers in April, acknowledged meeting with Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez about playing for the Wolverines, also visited Nebraska and said he was contacted by about two dozen programs.
“It got me thinking, got me throwing again (and) once I got doing that, the itch and the desire came back,” Paulus said. “To have this opportunity where I have two sports, and to be able to do them both at the college level, it’s something that’s pretty unique and special.”
He said he called new Orange coach Doug Marrone on Thursday morning to notify him of his decision.
The three-year starting guard graduated from Duke earlier this month. He has one season of eligibility remaining and can play immediately if he receives a waiver from the NCAA.
Marrone was not available and could not comment on the announcement because the NCAA paperwork has not been completed, university officials said.
Paulus was a record-setting high school quarterback in high school at Christian Brothers Academy, located less than a mile from Marrone’s office, and now has a legitimate chance at Syracuse, a proud program that’s fallen on hard times.
“I’ve seen a lot of great years at Syracuse,” Paulus said.
The Orange hired Marrone in December to resurrect the team he once played for ó Syracuse has gone 10-37 over the past four seasons. He already has moved former starting quarterback Andrew Robinson to tight end and demoted Cam Dantley, last year’s starter, to backup behind redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib, who has never thrown a college pass.
Paulus said Marrone has made “no promises, no guarantees” about playing time.
At CBA, Paulus was one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks. As a senior running a potent spread offense, he threw for 3,700 yards and 43 touchdowns in a 13-0 season. He finished his prep career with 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns passing.
Miami and Notre Dame offered him football scholarships, and he received a basketball offer from Syracuse before choosing to play basketball at Duke. For most of the past four years, his only flirtation with football came when he threw the ball around with his younger brother, Mike, a quarterback at North Carolina.
Having been away from the game for so long has raised doubts about whether Paulus, at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, can succeed at the Division I level, especially for a team like Syracuse, which has struggled to build a solid offensive line.
“There’s going to be challenges along the way with getting into football shape, learning the system, getting back to speed,” Paulus said. “It’s a different challenge, and it’s one that I’m looking forward to.”
Since Paulus did not redshirt and will complete his degree at Duke in four years, he can go to graduate school elsewhere and compete right away if he is granted the waiver. Paulus said he plans to drive back to Syracuse in the coming days to deal with the necessary paperwork.