The prodigal son returns.
Greg Paulus announced this morning that he will be attending Syracuse for graduate school and using his fifth year of athletic eligibility as a member of the Syracuse football team. Paulus now begins the task of competing for the starting quarterback job with current starter, redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib.
Paulus sees it not only as an opportunity to get back into football but also as a way to set Syracuse football right:
"Each place was unique, but in my heart, I just felt that Syracuse was the place for me," Paulus told FOXSports.com. "It's a chance to go home and make a difference."
"I'm excited about trying to re-energize the Syracuse program," he added. "It's a pretty neat thing."
Is this a good thing?
Honestly, I have no idea. The main thing Syracuse fans should probably get out of this is that...it can't hurt. Greg Paulus hasn't thrown a pass in a college football game in his entire career. Guess what, neither has our starting QB. There's absolutely no harm in bringing in Paulus to compete for the job. I mean, have you seen his high school stats? If he shows 50% of the promise he showed as a high school senior he'll probably still be competant enough to lead this team. And if it ends up that he's too far gone and too rusty, well his appearance in the line-up is going to push Nassib, who will have to play with the hometown hero standing on the sidelines waiting his turn.
If Paulus becomes the starter, what happens to Nassib?
Well, here's the good news for Ryan. He's still got three more years of eligibility after this one. If Paulus takes the reigns this season, Nassib will be lady-in-waiting for the 2010 season. Marrone's first QB recruit Charley "ridiculously good looking" Loeb is also waiting in the wings but expect Loeb to still be in training mode for a while. Besides, Nassib has only been the starting quarterback of Syracuse football for about two months, we're not talking about a three-year starter. He'll be fine.
How will Syracuse received Greg?
With open arms, I'm sure. None of the Paulus sons (six of'm) stayed around to play for the hometown team, until now. Greg's family will likely be a TV fixture at every game...the new McNamara's. Syracuse folks who watched Paulus break records at Christian Brothers will be eager to see the hometown boy return to form in an SU uniform. I'm sure there's many folks who always envisioned it that way to begin with.
What does this do for Syracuse on a national level?
A lot. Guess what...the nation is talking about Syracuse football today and they're talking about us in a positive manner. Someone just chose to play football with us over Nebraska...NEBRASKA! Couple Greg Paulus' arrival with the news that three incoming recruits will be playing for the USA Jr. National Team and that SU is back to recruiting Top 100 recruits and Syracuse football is starting to creep its way back among it's rightful place among the credible. We're not there yet...you gotta win the football games to do that...but we're on the right path.
Let's not kid ourselves either, Paulus is not exactly the most beloved college athlete in the country. He's a Dukie and he's a flopper. There's a whole boatload of people out there who want to watch him fail. And that might be enticing enough for ESPN or someone else to televise some Syracuse games so that people have that opportunity. Hey, whatever gets us on national TV as much as possible is okay by me.
Will Paulus flop on the football field?
Depends if our offensive line has improved or not. If not, I wouldn't blame him.
Is The Quest For Toronto now within our reach?
Let's not all go slurping each other just yet. There's absolutely nothing out there at the moment to prove that Paulus is even still any good, let alone whether or not he'll be our starter. I happen to personally believe SU will improve this season, but it has less to do with Paulus' arrival and more to do with other factors (The New Coach Effect, 8 home games, weak conference).
I'll be speaking with Coach Marrone in a short while and you can bet I'll be asking him about Paulus and what this means for Syracuse football. Stay tuned and keep an eye on Twitter for my live updates from the meet-and-great.