I love it when I'm right. I thought Greg Paulus made the wrong decision at the time. I said so and took a lot of heat, especially from Duke fans. But now, four years later, even Paulus seems to agree with me. He realizes he doesn't have a future in professional basketball so he is trying to restart his career in football. Too bad, too late.
Four years ago, I rated Paulus as the No. 1 quarterback in the nation coming out of high school. To me, it was a no-brainer. I selected him for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after he passed for 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns while leading Christian Brothers Academy of Syracuse, N.Y., to a 42-3 record in four years. As a senior, he was named the Gatorade player of the year.
But he chose to play basketball at Duke.
At the time, I said he was a better football player than a basketball player, that he had a better future in the NFL than the NBA. But Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said I was wrong and told Paulus that he would play in the NBA for 10 years. Today, he still insists he wanted to play point guard at Duke and play for Krzyzewski and doesn't regret his decision.
Now, after playing 95 basketball games at Duke and seeing his role drastically diminished as a senior, Paulus is trying to return to football. He recently worked out for the Green Bay Packers and visited Michigan to explore the possibility of transferring to play football. Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said he is willing to give the 6-1, 180-pound senior a tryout as a receiver. He said there was "no way" that Paulus could play quarterback after sitting out for the last four years.
According to NCAA eligibility rules, student-athletes must sit out a yea if they transfer from one four-year school to another. Because they are allowed to redshirt for medical or other reasons, they are granted 10 semesters of eligibility. Since Paulus wasn't a basketball redshirt at Duke, he would be eligible to play football at another school.
As a quarterback, Paulus was recruited by every major program coming out of high school. He was offered by Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska and many others. His father said he had more than 50 offers for football. His father also said his son wanted to play both sports in college. But once he signed for basketball at Duke, his football career was over. Football coaches allow kids to play two sports but basketball coaches never do because of limited scholarships and the injury factor. Even Quinn Buckner had to give up football after one year at Indiana.
I thought Paulus was a dominating football player and if he was looking for a professional career, he could succeed in the NFL, not the NBA. He was smart, had great feet and great leadership skills and had an uncanny knack for putting the ball on the money all the time.
But he chose Duke for basketball. I had nothing against Duke but I said he should sign for football or he would never be able to play football at Duke, only basketball. I was right. You can't trust college coaches. Their job is to get the best player available for themselves.
If you are a quarterback, you have to make the right choice, especially if you have dreams of playing at the next level, in the NFL or NBA. Those decisions are made at the age of 18, not 21. You have to be real careful when you listen to college coaches. Paulus isn't saying so now, but it is obvious by what he is trying to do that he realizes, if he made the right decision four years ago, he could have played football and basketball in college. Now it is too late.