Humble and Hungry

Florida linebacker Gionni Paul has around a dozen scholarship offers but says he's still wide open. "I'm still getting more offers so I want to wait before I have a top five," Paul said. "I just got my test score back, so a lot of schools were waiting on that." Paul doesn't plan on making an early commitment. "I'll take my time and go through everything. My brother (Miguel Paul) went through..."

Gionni Paul, the 6-foot, 223-pound three-star linebacker from Kathleen Senior High School in Lakeland, Fla., has around a dozen scholarship offers but says he's still wide open.

"I'm still getting more offers so I want to wait before I have a top five," Paul said. "I just got my test score back, so a lot of schools were waiting on that."

Paul got his first scholarship offer last month from Florida State and admits things have been quite busy for him ever since. "My dad told me this would happen," he said. "But I wasn't expecting it. I'm trying to stay humble and hungry and things are happening very fast right now. It's crazy."

Besides the Seminoles, he also has offers from Texas Tech, LSU, South Florida, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Western Kentucky and Memphis.

"Florida State has great tradition of winning and are building back up," he said. "They have good coaches and I like their style.

"Coach Jimbo Fisher is a good coach and he has good character," he said. "I think he'll lead them back to a BCS bowl."

Florida State is only two hours from Paul's house, while South Florida is only one hour away. He says that distance is not a factor.

"The coaches at South Florida are wonderful," he said. "And the program is close to home, which is a plus. My parents really like it, but they're still open too."

Paul admits his parents will play a big role in his decision. "I want to make sure my parents are happy with where I'm going," he said. "They'll help me pick for sure."

His most recent scholarship offer came from Texas Tech. "They got my test result and offered right away," he said. "They've got good new coaches and I really like the defensive coordinator (James Willis). He's great and a very good coach. My parents like him a lot."

Paul hasn't visited the Red Raiders yet, but hopes to this summer. Another school he'd like to see in person is LSU. "I like coach Les Miles," he said. "He's a great coach. He's very focused and expects his players to show up and play. He's very up front and direct."

He says he never followed a specific school growing up. "I never watched much football as a kid," he said.

Paul doesn't plan on making an early commitment. "I'll take my time and go through everything," he said. "My brother (Miguel Paul) went through this (played basketball for Missouri) and he kind of rushed it, so my parents and I plan on taking it slow.

"It may go down to the wire," he said. "Maybe we'll do the whole hat thing and just pick one…who knows."

Of course, Paul may have to commit sooner than he'd like since he plans on graduating in December. "I want to get to the school early and start learning the play book," he said. "I really want to get on the field early."

And what is Paul looking for in a school? "I want a family atmosphere and feel comfortable," he said.

Paul finished his junior season with 159 tackles and six interceptions. He also had four rushing touchdowns.

"I know how to read and react well," he said. "I see the ball and I just go get it. I'm like a Ray Lewis-type."

Paul says he can bench 365-pounds, squat 485 and claims a 39-inch vertical jump.

"I'm not concentrating on just one thing to improve," he said. "I want to do everything better."

Paul also runs track and may consider doing both in college. He runs the 100m (11.7) and 200m (25.2). Paul also does the long jump (24-feet) and triple jump (42-feet).

He plans on majoring in computer engineering and reports a 3.5 core GPA and 18 ACT.

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