Paulus: Michigan to give him shot at QB

Updated: May 1, 2009, 3:07 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus has been given an opportunity to join Michigan's football team and compete for the starting quarterback job this fall.

Paulus, a former All-American quarterback in high school, visited Michigan's final practice of the spring Tuesday in Ann Arbor. He did not throw or work out for Wolverines coaches.

"There has been an opportunity given there," Paulus said Thursday morning on a conference call with reporters. "I thought it was a really good visit. It was really helpful to get to be on a campus and meet with coach [Rich] Rodriguez and see the system and understand what types of opportunities are out there."

The four-year point guard is scheduled to graduate from Duke in June.

Since Paulus did not redshirt for the basketball team, he has one year of eligibility remaining in another sport. And since he will complete his degree in four years, he can go to graduate school elsewhere and compete immediately if granted a special waiver from the NCAA.

"Mr. Paulus has expressed an interest in competing in a second sport at another Division I school after earning an undergraduate degree at Duke University and competing on the men's basketball team," read a statement from the NCAA obtained by the Charlotte Observer. "The NCAA encourages and applauds academic achievement and realizes this is a unique situation and opportunity for Mr. Paulus. Student-athletes seldom have the opportunity to transfer late in their college careers and compete in a second sport after four seasons of competition."

Paulus said he can play only for Football Bowl Subdivision teams, which would rule out a move to a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) member.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Paulus has received interest from several other college programs, including his hometown Syracuse Orange, but at this point he has no other visits scheduled. He recently worked out for the Green Bay Packers and is exploring possibilities with other pro teams.

Paulus is solely interested in playing quarterback and would enter Michigan's open competition under center if he chooses to join the Wolverines.

"The chance to compete for a starting job is important," Paulus said. "With me only having an opportunity to play for one year, the chance and the opportunity to compete at a high level is important. There is an opportunity to do that at Michigan."

True freshman Tate Forcier took most of the snaps this spring for the Wolverines and performed well. Last year's primary starter, Steven Threet, transferred from the program in February.

Junior Nick Sheridan, who started four games last year and broke his leg midway through the spring, will also compete for the job alongside another freshman, Denard Robinson.

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.

"The quarterback position is like being the point guard," Paulus said. "You get the ball every possession and every play. That's exciting to me."

Paulus is still gathering information about Michigan and other schools, as well as the possibility of working out for more NFL teams. If he chooses the college route, a school's graduate program will be a major factor in his decision.

"I just feel very fortunate and really appreciative of some of the opportunities given," Paulus said. "It's been a dream."

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.

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