It became clear after Mike Paulus dropped to third on the depth chart behind Braden Hansen and a wildly inaccurate T.J. Yates, the handwriting was on the wall. When you toss Bryn Renner into the mix, I am guessing Paulus did not want run the risk of being fourth on the depth chart at QB. By transferring to William & Mary, which is a I-AA school, Paulus will not have to sit one season.
The interesting twist is UNC plays William & Mary next October which might pit Paulus against his former team. Slightly less interesting is that Paulus is transferring to a team that has beaten Virginia more often in the past three years than UNC has.
Thus ends the enigma which has been the career of Mike Paulus. Coming out of high school, Paulus was so highly touted. From the day he committed, the message boards had anointed him the UNC version of NCSU's Philip Rivers meaning he was destined to be one of the great QBs of the ACC. Even before he stepped foot on campus, Paulus made waves. During the coaching search following the dismissal of TCWSNBN, Paulus made statements to the effect that if he was not placated he might decommit and take others with him. Paulus wanted Butch Davis and ironically he got him which really did not help his career any. Paulus redshirted his freshman year. The primary reason given was his adjustment from the shotgun to under center was a bit slow. On top of that Yates had acquitted himself quite well in the spring and won the starting job over Cam Sexton. It never really got better. By his redshirt freshman season he was #2 on the depth chart but had to ill fated quarters of football which effectively ended his stint as a Tar Heel. When Yates was injured in the 3rd quarter versus Virginia Tech, Paulus came in and was unable to hold the lead as the Heels ended up losing 20-17. Davis started Paulus the next week versus Miami and the results were not much better. Cam Sexton was brought in and rallied the Heels to a win on the road. From that point on, Paulus never really had a chance to see the field again and this season when Braden Hansen came in against The Citadel for mop-up duty it was a safe bet Paulus would be going somewhere else.
The question begs to be asked: Where did it all go wrong with Paulus? Without knowing what goes on in practice or his relationship with the coaches, Davis and John Shoop in particular, that is a tough assessment to make. I do know what I saw on the field both frightened and confused me. If that extended to practice on any level then it is easy to see why he dropped on the depth chart. Interestingly the message boards are in full hand wringing mode blaming the coaching staff for not using Paulus correctly and expressing shock. SHOCK, I SAY, that the recruiting services could be this wrong. Well, it happens and as it turns out, Paulus was simply not that good or it was a poor fit which is a shame but that is how the pizzelle crumbles. In the end Paulus was a recruiting bust, sort of like Shavlik Randolph given the hype surrounding him. The only concern I have is the fact this is the 2nd QB in as many seasons to opt out of Chapel Hill. Cam Sexton did it last season and his relationship with Davis was thought to be the reason why. In Paulus' case, nothing has come to light about any bad blood between QB and coach. It could very simply be a case where a player just did not pan out. It is not the first and certainly won't be the last.
Hopefully he has a great run at W&M and I certainly wish him all the best.
And yes, I did notice UNC is down to only two QBs for the bowl game. No, I have no earthly idea what the Heels will do if both Yates and Hansen get injured.