Cutcliffe: Paulus invited to spring tryout

Updated: April 15, 2009, 8:31 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Since Greg Paulus appears serious about making the transition to college football this fall, Duke coach David Cutcliffe is willing to have the former Blue Devils point guard in for a tryout.

Just not at the quarterback position.

[+] EnlargeGreg Paulus
Jim O'Connor/US PresswireGreg Paulus was Duke's starting point guard for three seasons before losing the job to Nolan Smith.

Cutcliffe said Wednesday that he has told the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Paulus, a standout quarterback in high school who just finished his fourth year of basketball at Duke, that he could try out for a spot at inside receiver in Duke's last six spring practices.

Cutcliffe said he and Paulus "talked extensively" about the possibility of Paulus' joining the football team, but the bottom line was there was "no way" he could come out and try to play quarterback for the Blue Devils after such a long hiatus from the position.

"He's a quarterback at heart, but there was no way he was going to be able to compete and play quarterback for us," Cutcliffe said. "I think that was the deciding factor. Prior to our last six practices, I was going to try to get him out, give him a chance to work at slot receiver. He's a fierce competitor, a great young man. He's been a tremendous basketball player."

According to NCAA eligibility guidelines, student-athletes generally must sit out a year if they transfer from one four-year school to another. Because student-athletes are allowed to redshirt for medical or other reasons, they are granted 10 semesters of eligibility.

In the case of Paulus, because he was never a basketball redshirt at Duke, as an undergraduate transfer he would be eligible to play football at another school, assuming there are no extenuating circumstances concerning his eligibility.

In advance of the NFL draft next weekend, Paulus worked out in front of representatives for the Green Bay Packers last week in Durham, N.C., Duke spokesman Art Chase said.

Chase also said that the Blue Devils point guard visited Michigan on Tuesday to explore the possibility of transferring there to play football.

Michigan spokesman David Abluaf declined comment and coach Rich Rodriguez has repeatedly said he talks only about players on his roster.

Sources told ESPN.com's Christopher Lawlor that Paulus was there to speak to Rodriguez about the possibility of playing this season for the Wolverines. Paulus watched Michigan practice.

Cutcliffe said perhaps Paulus would have a better shot at trying to play quarterback in a spread system like that of Michigan's.

"I hadn't even heard that about Michigan. I had heard he worked out for some pro team," Cutcliffe said. "It's difficult when you haven't been playing quarterback in a long time, to step back into a pro-style offense and have any chance to play. If that's indeed the fact … they've had quarterback issues, and certainly that offense would be more friendly to a more athletic-type quarterback."

Paulus, who started 95 games for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski at point guard, saw his role drastically reduced his senior season. The Syracuse, N.Y., product opted to play basketball over football at Duke after being offered a football scholarship by Notre Dame as well as the University of Miami.

Paulus was a former Gatorade high school football player of the year at Christian Brothers Academy, where he was a four-time all-state player, set six state passing records and was a starter in the U.S. Army All-American game. Christian Brothers was 42-3 during Paulus' time there, and he had 11,763 career passing yards and 152 touchdown passes in 45 games.

"To play at the NFL level he might have to add 30 pounds," Christian Brothers football coach Joe Casamento told ESPN's Joe Schad on Wednesday. "He could always throw it accurately and he's a smart winner and a leader, but where now is the arm strength?"

As for a year of playing college football?

"I'm not sure the Michigan offense suits him," Casamento said. "We ran a spread, but a spread to pass. He might take some pounding in that offense. I understand Greg is keeping his options open, but I still believe basketball is his passion. When he chose basketball, he told me that one day he'd like to be a basketball coach."

During an interview in January with USA Today, Paulus expressed no regret about choosing basketball over football.

"I wanted to play point guard, and I got a chance to do that and to play for Duke and Coach K," Paulus told the newspaper. "I wouldn't change a thing."

ESPN.com's Heather Dinich and Christopher Lawlor and ESPN's Joe Schad contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report.

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