With the Bulls graduating three senior outside linebackers next season, landing a few key prospects for 2011 is a must. One of their top prospects is Kathleen's standout Gionni Paul, who just started spring football.
"Things are going good, we put pads on for the first time last week, and it went awesome," said Paul. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time, and it felt good to get a few licks in."
Paul stands 6-foot and a half, weighs in at 220 pounds, and has a great combination of strength and speed. Running a 4.7 -40 and says he can bench 365-pounds, squat 495, has a 300-power clean, and claims a 39-inch vertical jump.
"I spent the off-season working on getting bigger, faster and stronger," said Paul. "I went up in every category."
Scout.com's No. 18-ranked outside linebacker had an outstanding junior season, finishing with 159 tackles, four interceptions, and 11 sacks, while also scoring four rushing touchdowns on offense. He was also highly productive as a sophomore, recording 155 tackles, and Paul has an idea knows what makes him a good.
"My best assets are my ability to read and react, and knowing how to put myself in the right places. I play very fast and fly around the ball, deliver big hits, and make things happen," said Gionni. "It all starts with my preparation, I work hard and spend time getting in the film room."
On the recruiting front things are going very well for Paul who is has close to a dozen offers from some of the top programs in the country including, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee, USF, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Louisville, Cincinnati, and plenty of other schools showing interest.
"Things are going great recruiting wise, a lot of coaches are coming by practice," said Paul. "I'm getting new offers and things are starting to heat up."
With all the interest building, the Kathleen standout says he doesn't have a clear cut favorite just yet.
"I really don't have a favorite right now, and like all the teams that have offered me," said Paul. "I'm just enjoying the recruiting process and learning about the programs interested in me."
"I'm looking for a good family atmosphere, and I'm also looking for a good group of coaches and training staff," said Paul. "I'm going to be there for at least four years, so I want to put myself around people like myself."
Paul has been busy this spring with track and getting ready for football but did take several visits, including junior Day visits to Florida State, Georgia, and South Florida. He also attended the Bulls spring game and talked about the experience.
"The trip to USF for the spring game was good and I enjoyed it," said Paul. "It was a little disappointing because one of their receivers got hurt, but other than that it was a wonderful experience."
"I liked the way they played, and I liked the way the linebacker coach coached the unit," said Paul. "The players seemed real, and everybody is tight, and like a family."
Paul's primary recruiter for USF is defensive line coach Kevin Patrick, but he's also spoken to Head coach Skip Holtz, and defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Mark Snyder, and likes the Bulls coaching staff.
"I like Coach Patrick and think he's a great man, and a great individual. He has good values and shows that he cares about you a lot," said Paul. "I also like Coach Holtz, and I like what he's doing with the USF program right now."
Gionni is a top rated linebacker, but also plays strong safety, some running back, fullback, and says the Bulls aren't offering him as just a linebacker.
"They're offering me as a linebacker and additionally as an athlete. The defensive coordinator said they like me at linebacker but if that doesn't work out would find me a place on the field."
Paul said that because of track and the start of spring football, he won't be taking any other visits until this fall, but may attend a few summer camps.
"Right now I'm focused on spring football, which is very important to me. I'm trying to lead my team to the state finals this season. We have 27 seniors and I'm going to put them all on my back and take them to the championships," said Paul. "I'll take my visits this fall, and will go camping if I'm invited."
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