A local tight end is heading to the Big Ten for the next stage of his career.
Christian Academy of Louisville senior Jake Paulson announced on his Twitter account Wednesday that he had committed to the University of Minnesota. The news was confirmed by Centurions football coach Stefan LeFors. Paulson picked Minnesota over Illinois and LSU, according to LeFors.
Jake Paulson (@jake_paulson80) January 12, 2017
“It was a fun process for me as a coach to kind of see this whole experience for Jake play out,” LeFors said. “It was exciting. He’s obviously blessed to have a lot of opportunities and really Minnesota was the front runner for a while now and then they had the coaching change there, that was kind of a curve ball. There was lots of uncertainty for (Jake) not knowing if the position coach was going to stay or go. (Jake) found out (Tuesday) he was going, but (Wednesday) the new position coach reached out to Jake and expressed their interest in him still, and when he visited there a few weeks back he fell in love with the facilities and what they had to offer.”
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Paulson originally committed to Western Kentucky in August 2016 but he reopened his recruitment after receiving interest from the likes of Minnesota and Illinois, according to LeFors.
Paulson was named second-team all-state in the Courier-Journal’s annual postseason all-state football team as a defensive lineman. Paulson played both tight end and defensive end in high school, but he projects as a tight end in college.
“Minnesota has recruited him as a tight end all along,” LeFors said, noting Paulson is a traditional tight end. “He has his hand in the dirt, he will help out a ton in the run game and blocking at the point at the attack, but he’s skilled enough to hurt you in the passing game. He won’t stretch the field vertically but could be a matchup problem with linebackers.”
Paulson completed his senior season in style, winning the state title in a 24-6 win over Danville. Paulson was second on the team with nine tackles in the title game. For the season offensively, he had 25 catches for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he had 67 tackles (42 solo) in 15 games.
“Jake’s football IQ is extremely high and I think he’ll be head and shoulders above his peers,” LeFord said. “I think he’ll have a great career there.”
Following the 2016 season, which included a Holiday Bowl victory over Washington State, Minnesota parted ways with head coach Tracy Claeys and quickly hired P.J. Fleck from Western Michigan, where he went 13-1 in 2016 and earned a Cotton Bowl berth.