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2009-04-16

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Michigan QB Tate Forcier says to his knowledge, Paulus doesn't yet have offer to join team

BY COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Andy Reid and Ruth Lincoln
Published April 16, 2009

Former Duke point guard Greg Paulus has not been offered a scholarship to play quarterback for the Michigan football team, the Detroit News is reporting. Paulus has been offered an opportunity to join the team and compete to play quarterback.

This morning, ESPN.com reported that Paulus received an offer to compete to be the Wolverines' quarterback.

However, Michigan early enrollee quarterback Tate Forcier said that to the best of his knowledge, the ESPN.com report was false.

"I've been talking to coaches all morning, and my position coach, Coach (Rod) Smith, he told me specifically that they have not offered him — they don't know why he would lie," Forcier said Thursday afternoon. "They said, 'We'll let you'll know what's up,' because right now, their specific words were, they haven't offered."

Forcier said he first learned of the report that Paulus had been given an offer by watching television this morning, before his coaches called multiple times to reassure the early enrollee that the report was false.

"I'm not worried about it," Forcier said. "A kid like that was good in high school, but it's nearly impossible to come back to this level and play. It might be possible, but not in the quarterback position. You have to know too much, you have to know the speed of the game."

Forcier's older brother Jason, who missed the 2007 season per NCAA eligibility rules after transferring to Stanford from Michigan, saw the Paulus' situation similarly.

"Football might be the hardest sport to come back from a layoff and play," said Jason, who last spoke with Tate on Wednesday. "If you look into different sports, professional leagues, you've got minor leagues for baseball and basketball. The NFL doesn't have any of that.

"It just doesn't materialize because that's how hard it is to stay competitive and beating all that stuff."

The ESPN.com report comes on the heels of last Tuesday's final spring practice for the Wolverines, which Paulus attended to talk with Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez about potentially joining the team.

According to Jason, Forcier's understanding was Paulus arrived at Tuesday's practice unannounced, and the coaching staff was not aware of his arrival.

Paulus told reporters in a conference call Thursday morning that he is only interested in playing quarterback, according to ESPN.com.

"The chance to compete for a starting job is important," Paulus said in the conference call. "With me only having an opportunity to play for one year, the chance and the opportunity to compete at a high level is important. There is an opportunity to do that at Michigan."

Paulus was a highly touted dual-threat quarterback recruit in high school, accumulating 11,763 passing yards and 152 touchdowns in his career.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Paulus worked out with the Green Bay Packers in Durham, N.C. last week. On the Dan Patrick radio show Thursday morning, Paulus said he has talked with a Big Ten and a Big East team, as well as other schools. Paulus said he has not been contacted by an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

"What he's doing is generating great interest and that's smart on his part," Jason said of Paulus. "If he's considering himself a product, that's really good marketing. It should be a snowball effect whatever school takes notice of it."

Paulus played four years of basketball at Duke, but, under NCAA rules, has a fifth year of eligibility, should he choose to use it in a sport other than basketball. Every student-athlete has five years of blanket eligibility — four of which can be used in one sport — including any seasons spent as a redshirt.

If Paulus signs with Michigan in the near future, he would enter the Wolverines' quarterback competition, which currently includes early-enrollee Tate Forcier, incoming freshman Denard Robinson and redshirt junior Nick Sheridan, who sat out the last half of spring practice with a leg fracture.

"I want to believe my coaches, I committed to them," Forcier said. "Why would a kid like (Paulus) lie to national media? So to me, it's still up in the air."

Keep checking michigandaily.com all day for Paulus updates.

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Click here for a full transcript of the Daily's interview with Tate Forcier.

Click here for a full transcript of the Daily's interview with Jason Forcier.