The Paulus Watch is finally over. After visits to Michigan, Nebraska, and Syracuse, former Duke point guard Greg Paulus chose to play football for the Orange, his hometown team.
It's a move for Paulus where the good significantly outweighs the bad.
For Paulus to never try his hand at football would almost be a crime against sports. The list of accolades Paulus compiled while attending Christian Brother's High School—which is located less than 10 minutes from the country's largest on-campus domed stadium, the Carrier Dome - is mind-boggling.
The former Mike Krzyzewski pupil spurned Syracuse's football team for Duke basketball despite being the National High School Player of the Year (not just football, but for all sports). He graduated own six state records for the state of New York. He made the all-state team as a freshman.
Paulus is stepping into an almost ideal situation that will allow him to develop as a quarterback and learn if he has a future as a professional football player. He will be able to compete for the quarterback job and the job is extremely attainable.
The Orange has just two quarterbacks on the roster right now. Former walk-on Cam Dantley enters his senior with a pretty poor track record as the 'Cuse QB. First on the depth chart, red-shirt freshman Ryan Nassib only has a few dozen snaps in the spring game as his only competitive football action (if the spring game can really even be considered competitive football action).
Paulus certainly has the skill and talent to easily be the Orange's starter under center, but for Paulus the question remains, has four years of no football mean he's regressed too much to play in college?
The Syracuse native will have the pieces around him to develop as a quarterback. The 'Cuse bring back Mike Williams who is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the Big East. Williams missed last season due to academic problems, but in 2007 as a sophomore, Williams stood out as one of the best pass catchers in the conference.
Williams made his quarterback, Andrew Robinson who is now a tight end for the 'Cuse, look terrific at times.
Paulus also has a strong stable of running-backs behind him. Delone Carter was supposed to be the next great back in the SU tradition of great halfbacks, but broke his hip following a solid freshman campaign.
Carter is healthy and expected to excel this season. Backing Carter up is Antwon Bailey who single-handedly beat Notre Dame last year and Averin Collier who was the best running back in the state of New York in 2007.
Paulus will also have an improving offensive line to protect him. The offensive line was arguably the most improved part of last season's team. But new coach Doug Marrone played on the o-line for the 'Cuse and has spent the off season whipping his offensive lineman into shape.
Besides having the right pieces around him to succeed on the football field, Paulus enters into a very inviting, positive atmosphere.
The feeling around Syracuse is the sky is the limit for the new tenure under Doug Marrone. The community believes this football team can win again in the somewhat near future. Paulus represents a way for the Orange to win not in the near future, but now.
The fans will be behind Paulus because of what he brings to the field, but also because he is a hometown boy. SU fans always have a special place in their hearts for hometown kids. It's why Andy Rautins would always receive the second loudest ovations of anyone on the basketball the past three seasons even when he's never been the second best player on the team.
What might actually be the most important part of Paulus' decision has nothing to do with football. Paulus visited the Newhouse School of Public Communications which is one of the top Communication schools in the country. It's been hinted he would enroll in the one year broadcast-journalism "boot camp" the school offers.
After finishing the one year program, Paulus will be equipped to pursue a career in broadcasting and could probably easily make a career out of being a basketball or football analyst because of his education and name reputation. Syracuse is nicknamed "Sportscaster U" because of the notable alums the school has produced like Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, and Marv Albert.
Greg Paulus can't go wrong with his decision to play for Doug Marrone. He's getting a chance to enter an ideal situation to start on opening day. He gets to see if he will be a professional prospect while playing for his hometown school, but also in a major conference.
If he doesn't succeed, he'll have one of the best educations he could receive in the field of communications to fall back or Paulus still has the option to head to Europe to play basketball.
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