Paulus�must have known that the Duke-- North Carolina rivalry has divided
many a household. How could he not? His older brother Greg started for Duke
last season as a freshman point guard.
Still, Mike, a
senior quarterback at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., swears that
he wasn't trying to strain fraternal relations last April when he committed to
North Carolina over (among others) USC and Michigan. "I didn't think it was
going to be that big of a deal until I went down there," says Mike, who
attended the Tar Heels' football camp for a week in July. "Greg and I went
out to dinner in Chapel Hill, and all the Duke [memorabilia in the restaurant]
was turned upside down." Patrons cast curious looks at the two Pauluses,
but Greg survived his foray into enemy territory. "He's safe," says
Mike, "as long as he's with me."
In another year
one Paulus will be a Hatfield to the other's McCoy. School officials say that
Greg and Mike will be the first scholarship siblings on opposite sides of the
Duke-UNC rivalry since the basketball-playing Capel brothers, Jeff and Jason,
whose careers didn't actually overlap. "From a family standpoint, we won't
have a direct conflict since they play different sports," says the
Pauluses' father, Dave. "The unique thing is they'll both be with us at the
other's games. But I assure you that Mike won't cheer for Duke, and Greg won't
cheer for Carolina. We know better."
Mike, 17, is the
youngest of Dave and Denise Paulus's six boys, all of whom starred at Christian
Brothers. David, Matt, Dan and Chris went on to play football at Georgetown;
David also walked on to the Hoyas' basketball team. Younger sister Sarah, who
will be a junior at CBA, has already received basketball scholarship offers
from several Division I schools, including Syracuse.
But Greg cast the
largest shadow. The Gatorade Male National High School Athlete of the Year in
2005, he earned scholarship offers from major programs as a point guard and as
a quarterback. When it came time to succeed Greg as Christian Brothers'
signal-caller, Mike dropped arguably his best sport, baseball. "I had a lot
of responsibility as the new starting quarterback," says Mike. "I knew
I had to focus on football."
Mike proved to be
a quick study in the school's multiple-set offense, throwing for 2,100 yards
and 21 touchdowns in leading the Brothers to an 11--1 record last season. He
played the first half of CBA's Class A state quarterfinal victory despite a
broken left ankle, but the injury forced him to sit out the semis, which the
Brothers lost. "Going into last year, everybody was talking about Mike
taking over for Greg and wanting him to be like Greg," says Christian
Brothers coach Joe Casamento. "You can't compare Mike to Greg. They are two
drastically different kinds of quarterbacks."
combined mobility with an accurate arm, Mike is more of a classic drop-back
passer. Even so, Mike acknowledges that his production will never surpass
Greg's. As a senior at CBA, Greg threw for 3,672 yards and 43 touchdowns.
"He'll beat anyone on pure numbers," Mike says of his older brother.
"Almost any comparison to him is crazy."
A different set
of numbers, however, impressed college recruiters about Mike: his height and
weight. Last season Greg was listed at 6'1" and 185 pounds by Duke; little
brother Mike is 6'5" and 210. Can you say prototype quarterback?
"Physically, he's a specimen," says Greg. "And I can see he's
matured mentally--he's more motivated now. He's come a long way."