MikePaulus¬†must have known that the Duke--North Carolina rivalry has dividedmany a household. How could he not? His older brother Greg started for Dukelast season as a freshman point guard.
Still, Mike, asenior quarterback at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., swears thathe wasn't trying to strain fraternal relations last April when he committed toNorth Carolina over (among others) USC and Michigan. "I didn't think it wasgoing to be that big of a deal until I went down there," says Mike, whoattended the Tar Heels' football camp for a week in July. "Greg and I wentout 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," saysMike, "as long as he's with me."
In another yearone Paulus will be a Hatfield to the other's McCoy. School officials say thatGreg and Mike will be the first scholarship siblings on opposite sides of theDuke-UNC rivalry since the basketball-playing Capel brothers, Jeff and Jason,whose careers didn't actually overlap. "From a family standpoint, we won'thave a direct conflict since they play different sports," says thePauluses' father, Dave. "The unique thing is they'll both be with us at theother's games. But I assure you that Mike won't cheer for Duke, and Greg won'tcheer for Carolina. We know better."
Mike, 17, is theyoungest of Dave and Denise Paulus's six boys, all of whom starred at ChristianBrothers. David, Matt, Dan and Chris went on to play football at Georgetown;David also walked on to the Hoyas' basketball team. Younger sister Sarah, whowill be a junior at CBA, has already received basketball scholarship offersfrom several Division I schools, including Syracuse.
August 27, 2006
But Greg cast thelargest shadow. The Gatorade Male National High School Athlete of the Year in2005, he earned scholarship offers from major programs as a point guard and asa quarterback. When it came time to succeed Greg as Christian Brothers'signal-caller, Mike dropped arguably his best sport, baseball. "I had a lotof responsibility as the new starting quarterback," says Mike. "I knewI had to focus on football."
Mike proved to bea quick study in the school's multiple-set offense, throwing for 2,100 yardsand 21 touchdowns in leading the Brothers to an 11--1 record last season. Heplayed the first half of CBA's Class A state quarterfinal victory despite abroken left ankle, but the injury forced him to sit out the semis, which theBrothers lost. "Going into last year, everybody was talking about Miketaking over for Greg and wanting him to be like Greg," says ChristianBrothers coach Joe Casamento. "You can't compare Mike to Greg. They are twodrastically different kinds of quarterbacks."
While Gregcombined mobility with an accurate arm, Mike is more of a classic drop-backpasser. Even so, Mike acknowledges that his production will never surpassGreg'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 setof numbers, however, impressed college recruiters about Mike: his height andweight. Last season Greg was listed at 6'1" and 185 pounds by Duke; littlebrother Mike is 6'5" and 210. Can you say prototype quarterback?"Physically, he's a specimen," says Greg. "And I can see he'smatured mentally--he's more motivated now. He's come a long way."