L'ville makes solid impression on Paul

Gionni Paul, a three-star linebacker from Lakeland, Fla., made his first official visit to Louisville this weekend and the Cardinals made a strong impression. Paul spoke with InsideTheVille.com to discuss his visit and talk about some of his upcoming visit plans.

On a scale of 1-10, Gionni Paul rated his official visit to Louisville a solid '8.'

Paul, a three-star linebacker from Lakeland, Fla., made his first visit to Louisville over the weekend and watched the Cardinals dispatch Connecticut 26-0 at PJCS Saturday afternoon.

"It was good," Paul said. "I like the way they played, especially their linebackers. They were flying around making plays, jumping around. It looked like my type of football. They are definitely near the top of my [list] now. We'll have to wait and see what happens."

On Sunday, Paul attended Louisville's Red-White basketball scrimmage that drew more than 20,000 fans at the Yum! Center downtown. What did Paul like most about Louisville?

"The fans, the atmosphere, the coaches and the way they played, their playing style on defense," Paul said. "The atmosphere was great. They've got fan support."

During the visit, Paul spent a lot of time talking with Louisville linebacker coach Brian Jean-Marie, his primary recruiting contact with the Cardinals.

"We talked about the things they do and what they run," said Paul. "He got me familiar with some of the defensive things they do, the schemes. That helped me out a lot and showed me what I'd be up against. They said I could play inside linebacker, outside linebacker or safety because of my speed. I think I could fit real well into their system."

After spending the weekend visiting with Charlie Strong's program, Paul came away convinced Louisville's head coach has the Cardinals heading in the right direction.

"All I've got to say is he's a good coach," Paul said. "He's defensive-minded and the way he runs things he's turning the program around."

Paul also said he felt comfortable around Louisville's players, many of which hail from his home state of Florida.

They showed me a lot of love," Paul said. "Bilal Powell and Champ Lee are both from Polk County and they showed me a lot of love. They've got a lot of other people from Florida so I knew some of the players. There would be a good comfort-zone if I went there."

Paul plans to take all five of his official visits, including trips to LSU, Auburn and Tennessee, before he makes a college decision.

"I don't have dates set yet but I plan to visit those schools," said Paul. "I'm looking forward to making those visits and getting this decision over with so I can relax. My mom, my dad and my coach will help me make my decision. I'm looking for a good comfort-zone with a school and the coach. Distance won't be a factor and I could definitely see myself going to Louisville."

Paul said he's averaging over 20 tackles per game.

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