Michigan offers Paulus chance to compete at QB

April, 16, 2009
4/16/09
11:33
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

As amazing as it sounds, former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus has an offer from Michigan to compete for the starting quarterback job this fall.

Paulus visited the Wolverines' final practice of the spring on Tuesday and met with head coach Rich Rodriguez and his assistants. He's receiving interest from other college teams, including his hometown Syracuse Orange, but right now Michigan is the only real possibility.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this wild story is the fact that Paulus didn't even throw or work out for Rodriguez or his assistants on Tuesday but still has a chance to join the team.

"It was a visit," Paulus said Thursday morning. "There was no throwing the ball around or anything like that. There was no workouts. There was nothing like that."

This is a guy who hasn't played football in four years. Sure, he was a great high school quarterback, but to expect him to grasp the spread offense in one summer and win a starting job seems pretty far-fetched. Reeks of desperation, don't you think?

Paulus reiterated that holding a clipboard and wearing a backwards hat aren't what he's planning to do next fall.

"The chance to compete for a starting job is important," he 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."

Michigan has given Paulus no firm deadline to make the decision, but the former Duke point guard knows the sooner he finalizes his plans, the better off his chances are of grasping a new offense.

As for that pesky eligibility issue, Paulus is on pace to graduate from Duke in May. Since he never redshirted in basketball and will complete his degree in four years, he can go elsewhere, enroll in graduate school and play immediately. Paulus said a strong graduate program means a lot to him, and Michigan would certainly qualify.

I've gone back and forth on the Paulus situation.

This might be a low-risk, high-reward move for Michigan, which can move forward with Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson or Nick Sheridan if Paulus doesn't pan out. But it also sends a curious message to Forcier and Robinson as well as a fan base that seemed to be finally warming to Rodriguez. Couldn't see this happening at Michigan under the old guard.

Got to run to Ohio State now, but I'll have more on this as it develops.

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