"His Dad would bring me over and introduce me," Paulsen said. "Get my name into the system. They'd remember me and come back and speak with me at later times. It has worked out really well."
Thomas got around 20 scholarship offers, and eventually verbally committed to Stanford just after his senior season. The week of the state semifinals, Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh extended David Paulsen his first scholarship offer.
"If Chase Thomas wouldn't have been recruited by Stanford, I wouldn't be on Stanford's radar," Paulsen said.
Paulsen, a 6-foot-3 ½, 235-pound defensive end/tight end is on plenty of programs' radars, including Notre Dame's. Stanford is still his only offer, but North Carolina, Clemson, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Connecticut are a few of the many schools showing interest.
This past fall, Paulsen had 75 tackles including 10 stops for loss with six sacks. Walton went 12-2 and advanced to the state semifinals. Paulsen also played H-Back where he didn't catch many passes, but "I had a lot of big blocks."
Paulsen just sent film up to Notre Dame last week.
"I'm pretty quick off the ball," Paulsen said. He started at middle linebacker as a sophomore. "I use my hands pretty well. I have a strong upper body to get rid of the lineman. I do pretty well when the quarterback is out of the pocket, I do well with contain, and I come down the line pretty well to stop the run, chasing guys down from their backside."
Paulsen, who has a 3.5 GPA, reported a bench press of 335 pounds, a squat of 450, and a 40-yard dash time of 4.77. He is hoping to hear back from Notre Dame about its junior day. Paulsen's next trip to South Bend would be his first.
"I'm getting letters from them once a week," Paulsen said.
"I just know they have a great reputation for football even though this past year wasn't the best. I just know every year they put a great team on the field and play a really hard schedule and do well. I know the academics there are top notch, and I just know it's the legacy of college football, Notre Dame."
Paulsen has been on unofficial visits to Duke, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Georgia. The first week of January, he was in San Antonio, Texas for the U.S. Army National Combine, showcasing many of the country's top juniors. Paulsen worked out as a tight end that day.
"I just thought I could do better running routes, show my athleticism better," he explained. "Better to run some routes than go up against offensive linemen the whole time.
"I think I did pretty well. There were only a few tight ends there. I only dropped one pass, so overall I think I did pretty well."
Paulsen said he doesn't have a preference to what position he wants to play on the next level, but added that if he had to choose, it would be defensive end.