ANN ARBOR - Sharp elbows, in-your-face defense, and a relentlessly gritty competitiveness earned Greg Paulus the unofficial title as the Duke basketball player the opposition most loved to hate.
Now Paulus might be bringing that spunk to the University of Michigan and displaying it on the football field, where he would be eligible to play this fall.
The former point guard for the Blue Devils, who was the national football player of the year as a record-setting quarterback during his senior season at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse in 2004, was here earlier in the week to look at possibly playing football for the Wolverines.
"There has been an opportunity given there," Paulus said yesterday during a conference call with reporters in which he confirmed a Tuesday visit to Michigan's final spring practice and a meeting with Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez.
"I had a good visit with them the other day. It was really helpful to get to be on a campus and meet with coach Rodriguez and see the system and understand what types of opportunities are out there. It's one thing to talk on the phone, and it's another thing to be able to spend the day and start to build a relationship with teammates and the coaching staff there."
Paulus was a heavily recruited quarterback coming out of high school, but he chose to play basketball at Duke. His four years of basketball eligibility ended last month when the Blue Devils lost in the NCAA tournament, but since Paulus will receive his degree next month, NCAA rules permit him to play one additional year in another sport.
Paulus said the football option came up a few days after the basketball season was completed when he was contacted by representatives of the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Paulus worked out for the Packers and said he has been contacted by other pro teams and colleges but declined to name them.
Rodriguez said after last Saturday's spring game that there is an "open competition" for the quarterback job at Michigan. Junior Nick Sheridan, who missed the last three weeks of spring practice with a broken leg, freshman Tate Forcier, who had an impressive showing in the spring game, and freshman Denard Robinson are expected to battle for the starting position this fall.
NCAA regulations prevent Rodriguez or other Michigan officials from commenting on Paulus until such time as he would enroll at the school or accept a scholarship offer there. Paulus said yesterday that the opportunity to play right away makes Michigan a viable option for him.
"When looking at a situation, you want to help the program, and having an opportunity to compete and play right away is very attractive to me," he said. "A chance to compete for a starting job is important, and there is an opportunity to do that at Michigan, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to go up there and learn all about it."
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