The story of the Paulus family is quite incredible. Four of Mike Paulus' brothers played or are playing football at Georgetown. Unless you live in Bora Bora, you know the story of his brother Greg. Greg could have played quarterback at just about any school in the country, but he opted to play hoops for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. His sister is a Division I basketball recruit and she's drawing interest from most of the major teams in the Big East, including Notre Dame. And Mike? No hype, he might be the best junior quarterback in the nation.
"Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama," Dave Paulus, Mike's father started when asked the schools that had offered his son a scholarship. "Louisville, Maryland, Arizona State, North Carolina State, Virginia, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Miami (Ohio), Rutgers, Syracuse, Duke, and more on the way. USC has given a very strong indication that they are interested in him and they are recruiting him very heavily and Ohio State is in he same boat.
"He's definitely an elite kid. He's definitely one of the top three quarterbacks in the country. There probably isn't a program that that I mentioned that hasn't said that. Anyone that has seen his tape, that knows football know he's a major talent. A lot of people compare Michael to three guys; they talk about Dan Marino, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, except Michael is a little more mobile than any of those three."
That is elite company to be mentioned with, and if I hadn't watched his son's film prior to speaking with Mr. Paulus, I probably would have shrugged the comment off. Fact is, when you watch Mike with the ball in his hand, the talent jumps out at you.
"One of his key attributes is that he has a tremendous arm that can make any throw," Mr. Paulus explained when asked about Mike's strength as a quarterback. "Another thing is that he's an athlete. He has Division I basketball programs that have shown interest him, and he could be a Division I baseball player as well. He's very athletic.
"Mike also has very good football instincts and leadership skills. I think that's extremely important for the guy that is going to be under center that he knows how to react under pressure and under fire. (Mike) knows what to do.
"I think those all of those are important ingredients," Mr. Paulus continued. "Mike is very fortunate that he's so talented and he has the ideal pro quarterback size -- 6-5. He's an athlete and he has a cannon for an arm. His mechanical release is very strong as well."
It certainly isn't a secret to anyone that is reading this article that Notre Dame tabbed Jimmy Clausen as their top quarterback target some time ago. Mike certainly has plenty of football options, but he hasn't closed the door on the Irish.
"Notre Dame had not seen film on Mike months ago, although they were aware in general," Dave responded when asked how Notre Dame pursuit of Clausen affected Mike's perspective on the Irish. "Mike just exploded onto the scene this year when he took over at quarterback. He was somewhat a diamond in the rough, in the sense that he wasn't as well known, because he wasn't the full-time quarterback as a sophomore. Mike played on the varsity team as a freshman, but he played behind Greg. By the time Mike went into the game the game was a rout, so he just didn't throw the ball very much. He got his snaps and got his time, but he wasn't in the pressure cooker and he wasn't the guy until last year. I think that is the difference, had Mike been under center, all this (recognition) would have started a year earlier.
"Notre Dame with Charlie Weis is at the head of the class. Charlie is just a tremendous football coach. The kind of values and the way he coaches a football team is outstanding I think the key thing is that Notre Dame will develop quarterbacks for the pros. At the same time they will get tremendous instruction. They will also be involved in high expectations of leading a football team. I think it's a great situation.
"I think he just did wonderful things at New England with Tom Brady" Mr. Paulus said of Weis. "He comes from a great coaching tree. I think Charlie has had great experience and he's obviously a great football coach. It's usually the system; like coach (Mike) Krzyzewski; he finds a way to win every year because he gets the best, and he demands the best from them. He gets the most out of them. I think Charlie Weis has a lot of similar qualities.
"I think Charlie Weis has reengineered what going on down there. It's like blocking and tackling. There is blocking and tackling in the recruiting process. You need to know the right kids to recruit and how to recruit them. It's about motivating the kids and getting them to achieve their maximum potential and I think that Charlie is a master at all of those things.
"Mike talks to the coaches and he talks to them on a weekly basis," Dave responded when asked if the Irish staff had been in contact with them. "He talks to Rob Ianello and coach Vaas. We met with Charlie Weis when we came up last year, but we have not spoken to Charlie since then.
"I think they're building a relationship with Mike. It's actually happening from both sides. I think they're both getting to know each other better. I think that's part of the recruiting process. I think that same process is going on with Mike and the other schools. I think it's nice because as you get to know the people that are involved and you get to know the kid. You get to know more about what their expectations are and how they think. You also find out how they are outside of football. So I think Mike is going through that process with Notre Dame. I think they both learning about each other.
We've been a big advocate of education first. Our kids have all been very fortunate to be successful in athletics. As a result, it's helped them get great educations, and at the same develop a lot of key values. There are only so many schools that fit a profile academically and athletically and at the same time, help a kid if he has the talent to get to the pros."