Paulus Has a Plan

Almost two weeks after discovering John Bunting would be leaving North Carolina following this season, the same questions are going through UNC commitment Mike Paulus' head. However, the 6-foot-5 210-pound quarterback from Syracuse (N.Y.) Christian Brothers Academy has a strategy to get answers.

"Kind of the same thing [is going through my mind] -- I'm just kind of waiting and seeing," said Paulus. "I'm hearing different things, I'm talking to different people, [and] I'm just trying to gather the most accurate and best information I can get on who the new coach is going to be and when it's going to happen."

Paulus, who verbally committed to North Carolina in late May, receives most of his information from members of the Tar Heels' current coaching staff.

"I still talk to the coaches every single day," said Paulus. "I still talk to [Dave] Brock and [Frank] Cignetti every single day and I'm up-to-date with the situation."

The fate of North Carolina's assistant coaches could play a major part in Paulus' ultimate decision.

"I'm not threatening anybody by saying I'm going to de-commit if Brock or Cignetti are fired," said Paulus. "I'm just looking out for the guys that took care of me. I don't think I'm bigger than the program; I just want to make sure the best possible coaches are there when I get there.

"I think if they keep the assistants, I'd probably stay committed unless they bring in a totally different head coach. If they bring in a head coach with a great resume who has done a great job with a big time program and he brings in some big time assistants, at the same time I would stay."

To finalize his recruitment, Paulus has devised a simple plan of action.

"I will take my official visit once the coach is named," said Paulus. "Depending on how that goes, I will either stay committed or go elsewhere.

"Once I take my official with the coaches from the new staff, I want to meet with them, sit down, [and] see what their plans are and philosophies and all that. I want to see if I'm still comfortable with the program, and if I'm not – if I feel that it's not a good fit – than I will look elsewhere."

Paulus plans to be in Chapel Hill for the NC State game, but it will be of the unofficial variety.

Since he committed to UNC, Paulus has worked as an extended part of North Carolina's recruiting efforts by contacting fellow recruits. Although the theme has changed, Paulus has kept in contact with a select few.

"As soon as it happened, I talked to Greg Little, Ryan Houston and Dwight Jones," said Paulus. "Even though people don't [know if] Greg Little is a commitment or not, I'm still a good friend with him and we're close.

"We're kind of looking at each other like, we're the Fab Four. We all want to play together, we want to go somewhere and make an impact soon. I texted Greg Little and said stick with me. I texted Ryan Houston, I said stick with me. I talked to Dwight Jones the other day and we're trying to stick together, too. They're all going to wait and see."

A few days before he was informed of Bunting's fate, Paulus saw a promising senior season end prematurely.

"We had our moments," said Paulus. "We came out and played well sometimes; other times we came out and played real flat.

"We were a team that once we got behind then we started to play. And once you get to the playoffs you can't do that, you have to play well from the get go. We dug ourselves in a whole in the first round – even though we were the top team – and we couldn't get out of it.

"It's difficult, because our school's used to going to the final four or the final eight every year. It's definitely different to play this few amount of games."

Paulus played three less games than he did last year and still surpassed his statistical totals in every major stat category. On the year, Paulus competed 58.8-percent of his passes for 2,304 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

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