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Sibling Rivalry
Mike Waters
August 28, 2006
Family outings got more interesting when quarterback Mike Paulus committed to North Carolina
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August 28, 2006

Sibling Rivalry

Family outings got more interesting when quarterback Mike Paulus committed to North Carolina

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Mike 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."

While Greg 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."