Junior Receiver One to Watch

Junior wide receiver prospect Niles Paul is already starting to make some noise. Paul has a scholarship offer from home-state school, Nebraska, and many other top programs are already in pursuit. We spoke with Paul's high school coach, Larry Martin, and the junior prospect to get some particulars on this top prospect.

"He's a tremendous student," Omaha North high school coach Larry Martin said of his star receiver Niles Paul. "I know he's got like a 3.6 grape point average and he takes a lot of honors classes."

"He has great hands," Martin said of Paul as a receiver. "He has a great ability to go up and get the ball. I think he has a 36 inch vertical jump. He's explosive. It's very apparent when you put the film on that he's one of those separation guys. When he gets in the open he's gone. He's a great player."

Paul's junior season saw the Omaha, Neb. native grab 32 receptions for 623 yards and nine touchdowns. He also was a top return man for the Vikings, but Martin said he thinks Paul might be best on the offense side of the ball.

"I'm not 100 percent sure," Martin said of Paul's best position. "Right now he has a lot of confidence on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively he's coming around. I know a lot of people like his athletic ability. Offensively he was probably the best receiver in the state. We didn't throw the ball as much as we had in the past, but based on pure athleticism, there's no doubt in my mind he's the best receiver in the state.

"I know some people have been real impressed with his athletic ability to play defense, but he's just not real comfortable over there yet. You can tell that in some of his plays, but it's nice to have him back there because anytime a team breaks one he'll chase the player down. He did make a lot of plays for us on defense, but he's just not as comfortable there yet.

"He did punt returns and kick returns this year as well. He had one kick return for a touchdown. I think he had two punts as well."

Paul already has one scholarship from Nebraska and a lot of other top schools have started recruiting him as well.

"Oh yeah, they're all stopping by and calling," Martin said of college coaches. "You've got Nebraska, which has already offered him. Iowa is really showing a big interest in him. We've had a lot of invites to camp. He's been invited to Notre Dame and Michigan. Niles is getting letters from all the major schools in the country. I think it's just going to be a matter of him deciding where he wants to go and going to those camps this summer.

"The four schools he's mentioned the most with me are Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska. He went to Nebraska's camp for a day last year. I know he plans to go to Notre Dame's camp and then we'll probably hit Iowa's on the way home. We'll hit Nebraska's, and if he wants to go to Michigan, we'll figure out a way to get him up there."

We also spoke with Niles Paul and he said he was excited when his first official offer arrived.

"You're thrilled about it, but you still have to be with your teammates," Paul said. "It takes a team to win. You've got to happy about it and celebrate, but you've got to get back down to business.

"It felt good to be one of the only juniors in the state to get one. It was midway through the season so I couldn't get too happy about it because playoffs were coming up."

We asked Paul which schools he might have an early interest in at this point.

"Definitely Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa, Florida State, Miami," Paul said. "I like a bunch more. I get a lot of mail."

"I'm definitely going to Notre Dame camp," the 6-1, 190-pound junior said. "I'm definitely going to the Nebraska camp. There's a lot of camps that I've been invited to that I'll probably be going to."

Recently a lot of junior prospects have been making early decisions, some even before their senior season. We asked Paul if he might make an early decision.

"I'll probably just wait until my senior year or maybe this summer and just see what happens," he said.

"Definitely academics and location," said Paul when asked what factors he'd consider when making his decision.

Does that mean Paul wants to play his college football close to home?

"Not as far as pretty close, but still close enough that my family can come out and watch the games," he said.

We also asked Paul which college player he admires the most.

"Reggie Bush is pretty good," Paul said of the likely Heiman Trophy winner. "I like watching Reggie Bush a lot. He's really good."

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