And that's why Paulsen has maintained the Blue Devils among his top three over traditional powers such as USC, Notre Dame, and Boston College.
"Duke's definitely got me interested in them and what they are trying to do. I like the challenge of helping to build a program, and that's what I can do there. Plus they have a tremendous academic reputation. A kid from my school went there last year, so I'd know someone if I choose to do the same."
The recruiting pitch of building and rebuilding seems to be a constant thread in Paulsen's recruitment, though the challenge of taking a program that has seen rough days like Duke trumps some other pitches.
"UCLA is a great school and they talk about rebuilding their program, and that's something to think about, but I don't think I'd have as big an impact as I would at Duke."
That's probably true as Paulsen, who is rated as a four star prospect by TheInsiders.com, would compete for immediate playing time at Duke no matter which position he chose to compete for.
"They've told me I could play either defensive end or tight end, and that it's pretty much up to me. I like playing offense, but I'll do whatever my team needs of me wherever I go. When I last talked to the coaches there, they said we'd probably determine where I fit the best in my first year."
Though he has glowing things to say about each of his top three, don't expect this big timer to shut down his recruiting any time soon. In fact he's not even thinking about moving forward until after his senior season at Chaminade College Prep.
"I am just concentrating on my season at this point. We're a young team, but I think we're going to be pretty good. I'm going to take my visits after the season and then I'll make a choice soon after. When I head out on those I'm going to really be looking at the educational factors as well as football. You can't play football forever."