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Paulus To Play Football At Syracuse

Chase Olivieri/Chronicle File Photo

After four years as Duke's point guard, Greg Paulus is headed back home--to play football.

The upstate New York product announced Thursday that he will use a fifth year of NCAA eligibility to play quarterback at Syracuse, where he will likely attend the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The 2005 Gatorade National Player of the Year in football said he preferred Syracuse because of its proximity to his home and because it represented a chance to play at a high level.

"Syracuse has a lot of great things about it," Paulus said. "With me being from there, you grow up in a culture and understand that there are a lot of great opportunities out there. After taking my visit and a few other visits, my gut and my heart were just telling me... that was the best place for me."

In the past month, Paulus visited Michigan, Nebraska and Syracuse before opting to play for head coach Doug Marrone. Paulus enters a precarious quarterback situation, and he might be able to make an impact immediately. He will compete for the starting job with redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib and senior Cameron Dantley, neither of whom is an established quarterback.

Paulus, who grew up about five minutes from  Syracuse's campus, said Marrone made no guarantees or promises about playing time, and that he is looking forward to the opportunity to get back into football shape and break into Marrone's pro-style offense.

"It's something where, I guess, you don't know the future," Paulus said. "I want to help Syracuse, I want to come back home and make a positive difference, an impact. My objective is to help the team and to help Syracuse. Whatever Coach Marrone would like me to do, then that's what I'll do."

Paulus said he will return to Syracuse in the next two days and begin to file the paperwork required to attain an NCAA waiver and formally apply for graduate school. Duke does not have a graduate communications school, which is one of the prerequisites for getting the waiver.

Paulus said he received interest from about two dozen football teams, and that there were some chances to continue his basketball career, but he couldn't resist the urge to get back on the gridiron any longer.

"It got me thinking, got me throwing again, and once I got doing that, the itch and the desire came back, and it's something that I'm  really excited about," he said. "To have this opportunity, where I love two sports, and to be able to do them both at the college level,  it's something that is pretty unique and special and I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to do that."


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