But that's the situation Greg Paulus has found himself in, no longer a starting point guard for Duke, but soon to be a member of the 2009 graduating class. Because he didn't redshirt Paulus can attend graduate school and with a special waiver from the NCAA could compete in college athletics one final year, immediately.
Oh, and then there is the matter that when this young man did play football, he was pretty darn good. Try 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns passing-good, and an undefeated record his senior year at Christian Brothers Academy.
You take that resume', dust it off a bit and meld that in with a young man who has started and played for one of the most prestigious programs in the country in another sport, his former high school head coach thinks that adds up to something special. "Well, he's certainly not a runny-nosed kid anymore. He's played basketball for Duke for four years and been Academic All-American the last two," Casamento said. "If there is anyone around who can do this it's him."
What "this" is, is basically arriving at a school during June where coaches aren't allowed to interact with their players in a way which could be translated as coaching. And it would only three weeks before that team's actual season began that he would have time to take the playbook he'd probably get the second he arrived, and cram like nobody's business to work that in
|Paulus at practice for the 2005 U.S.|
Army All-American Bowl
The two contenders, Nebraska and Syracuse, have mostly been seen as one at this point. Syracuse, just a short drive from where Paulus calls home and grew up, seems to be the perfect fit. But Paulus obviously thought enough about Nebraska to give them a two-day visit about a week ago.
But Syracuse could use any help they can get.
Coming off a 3-9 season, where the Orangemen went 1-6 in the Big East, the program is obviously in need of a little boost. Actually, make that a huge boost. When you figure in both sides of the ball Syracuse ranked worse than 100th in 11 different categories. For Paulus' side they finish the year ranked 113th in passing offense, 114th in total offense, 108th in scoring and 113th in passing efficiency.
Nebraska isn't quite in that ballpark on the need-scale, but they have a QB issue of their own: Junior Zac Lee is almost the starter by default going into Fall, with the departure of Patrick Witt before Spring and the torn ACL to redshirt freshman Kody Spano during the Spring session. He has a whopping two completions for his Husker career, totaling 17 yards.
Behind him is converted linebacker in junior Latravis Washington who played quarterback in high school, along with true freshman Cody Green, who obviously only got to campus this January. You can add another true freshman into the mix come Fall once Taylor Martinez arrives from California. But what's that all add up to?
Two passes for 17 yards.
Certainly, Nebraska's situation isn't as bleak as Syracuse, but there's no doubt that it wouldn't hurt Nebraska any to have another kid to throw in the mix, especially with the background of Paulus. Casamento thinks it's a win-win situation no matter where he goes. "He'll be on scholarship for that year, but this is a kid who is as smart as they come, and the best thing about him is that he fights. He'll give everything he has to do his best," he said. "He's definitely not going to make your team worse, because he's such a great team guy. So, I think whoever gets him is getting something special.
"And don't think he won't play."
The odds are certainly more in favor for Paulus to do that at Syracuse than at Nebraska. Just the depth chart seems to scream Orangemen over the Big Red. That's where Casamento reaffirmed his belief in the kid that took his team to a state title. Even with this short amount of time people won't be able to take him for granted. "He'll make you look over your shoulder, you can bet that. I know that kid, and he'll do whatever he has to, to compete," he said. "I don't know what that means, but even though the situation doesn't say that he's got a good chance, I'd never count him out. Never."
Paulus will be graduating this weekend, and it is expected that after that a decision will not far away. His former prep coach doesn't know where he's going, but he knows he'll be watching for sure. "I coached him, and so yeah, I'd like to see him throw it around a little bit for someone. I think he'd surprise a few people," he said. "You don't forget how to play the game. If it's been awhile, you just need to shake off a little rust."