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3-star RB Andrew Paul out of Texas signed with UGA on February 2, 2022. (Instagram)
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Andrew Paul: The knock-your-scarf-off stories about the latest ‘RBU’ signee

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about all things Andrew Paul. He signed with Georgia in the 2022 class.

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Let’s play a game regarding all things Andrew Paul.

We will set the rules of this game by saying there will be six truths presented and then one Texas tall tale regarding the latest “RBU” signee from the 2022 class.

This won’t be easy. Paul is 5 feet, 11 inches and 215 pounds of improbability signed and on his way to Athens in June.

Try to spot the embellishment among these pearls.

  • When he was looking at his decision back in October, his legitimate college scholarship options were Houston Baptist, Sam Houston State and Texas State.
  • Give credit to the Missouri football program. If he eviscerates the Tiger D in years to come, a hat tip from DawgNation should go to Mizzou running backs coach Curtis Luper. He told Paul and the Dallas Parish Episcopal staff that he could play in the SEC. His recruitment took off from that point.
  • The transfer portal worked in his favor. He did not sign during the early period. His high school coaches got some good advice on that. There was a great opportunity for him if he waited out schools with full rosters to take advantage of vacated scholarships after players hit the portal after their bowl games. It was a roll of the dice. He did not sign early and it all paid off. Handsomely.
  • Paul’s offer list exploded late. He reported these offers from December 26 until he signed in February: Michigan, Washington, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oregon.
  • The 3-star RB didn’t get his offer from Georgia until after he got back from his Clemson official visit on January 23.
  • In his last three playoff games, he tallied up 1,105 yards and 16 touchdowns. According to MaxPreps.com, he had rushing nights of 323, 342, 401 and 440 yards in his senior year. That was more yards than he rolled up in his entire junior year.
  • Paul was involved in a chilling car accident the week of the district championship game. A tree fell on his car and totaled it. It was a rainy day and his vehicle hydroplaned into the tree. He proceeded to run for 400-plus yards in leading his team to a victory in the district title game.

There’s only one correct answer here. Every element listed in that above string is true.

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3-star RB Andrew Paul out of Texas signed with UGA on February 2, 2022. (Instagram)
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A little bit more juice about that last Andrew Paul story

That last one does sound like a bit of Disney script, right? The details are only going to make it sound even more outlandish.

It was Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

“It might not be my favorite Andrew Paul story,” Paris Episcopal coach Daniel Novakov said. “But it certainly tells you who he is.”

He was on his way to school. Paul hit the tree and that tree fell on top of his car.

It was the week of the district championship game. Parish was facing Nolan Catholic out of Fort Worth. They had a pair of Power 5 defensive linemen plus another Power 5 safety on their defense.

Novakov gets a text on Wednesday. Paul’s mother, whom he describes as unassuming and sweet, sent it.

“Good morning. Andrew got into an accident this morning. Please call when you get a text,” it read.

As far as texts go, that is about the worst a coach can get. Even worse than the school principal telling him they have been summoned to the office of the executive director of the state association.

“I call her and it is like ‘Andrew has been in an accident and it is a car accident,” he says.

But she then told him not to worry. He’s okay. We applaud Novakov for his honesty on sharing what he said next.

“My next thought was can he play on Friday?” he said.

Paul’s mother then sent him a picture. There’s a tree on top of his car.

“It is a bad wreck,” Novakov said. “It totaled his car.”

The rest is the stuff of Parish football history. Paul doesn’t miss practice. He shows up that day. His team is in shells.

“Then he rushes for 434 yards and who knows how many touchdowns,” Novakov said. “Five or six touchdowns. One of the performances of a lifetime.”

“The thing most people don’t realize about that game is we are lucky he’s here and still with us,” Novakov said. “That’s number one. It was a horrible accident and then for him to show up at practice, shake all of that off and then play in the game the way he did. It gives you all the insight into his personality and mentality.”

Paul had three games as a sophomore in which he carried the ball at least 25 times. He had six games like that as a senior. There was even a 17-carry game back as a freshman in 2018.

“When you use the word bell cow for a running back, that’s what he is,” his coach said. “He’s a workhorse back that you can feed it to and he’s just going to keep on coming and just get stronger as the game goes on.”

The airbag deployed and all. Ambulance and police on the scene.

“It just shows you how mentally tough and physically tough he is,” Novakov said. All those things you really want to see in a player. That’s exactly what he is.”

He never missed a practice.

“I don’t even know how many kids on the team even know that happened,” Novakov said. “I think I addressed it after practice. I can’t remember that for sure.”

His HUDL profile page credits Paul with 401 rushing yards in that game. Paul averaged 13.4 yards per carry and scored three times. The highlight reel from that one specific game is embedded below.

The things to know about Georgia football signee Andrew Paul

Paul was an All-State running back during his junior year but his coach felt that he got “100 percent better” between his junior and senior seasons.

He had 271 carries for 2,616 yards. That’s 9.3 yards per rush attempt. He had 10 games in which he ran for more than 100 yards and scored 41 times on the ground.

To be clear, his second 400-yard rushing effort came in the state semifinals. It came in the driving rain where he was the only offense his team had.

There are a few things that will pop out immediately when one sees Paul on the grass for the first time.

“You will notice his presence,” his coach said. “You will look at him and see that’s what a Georgia running back or what you envision a Georgia running back should look like.”

The impression changes when you watch him work. He’s smooth and blessed with an abundance of endurance. That’s likely due to his relentless weight room work. Kirby Smart even credited him as coming from a military family in his National Signing Day press conference remarks.

Paul works out with the track team. When he was out at practice for the first time, it was something to see to watch him clock off some 350-meter sprints. He has that breakaway speed, too.

“I think he is going to be an elite SEC running back,” Novakov said. “Not just a typical one. I remember as a kid watching Bo Jackson and that’s what I keep telling people of what he reminds me of. A guy like that who is big and a physical kid who then has the breakaway speed and can then also make people miss.”

Paul competes in a tough level of Texas private school football. Yet he looks like Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson on some of his breakaway runs.

“I played that as a kid,” Novakov said. “That’s who he reminds me of. You watch him and you are like ‘Geez are these other people trying to tackle him?’”

Mental toughness. His desire to outwork everyone else. That’s what are the key separators here in the breakdown for Paul.

3-star RB Andrew Paul out of Texas signed with UGA on February 2, 2022. (Instagram)
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Andrew Paul: Last-minute timing was everything again at Parish Episcopal

Paul was lucky to have the right coach and the right mindset at Parish Episcopal in Dallas. There was never a moment of frustration or lost resolve.

“There was never a point like that,” Parish coach Daniel Novakov said. “I don’t believe in throwing in the towel or anything with college interest.”

He will likely never feel that way. Paul’s story is basically a repeat of another improbable recruiting tale.

Flashback to the 2021 cycle. Austin Uke, a 3-star OT, was bound for Holy Cross. He was even quite content to do so at that.

That was until all the big offers started to roll in very late. He got FSU, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Maryland and Missouri late, among others. He eventually signed with Stanford.

“For two years in a row, I’ve had the same thing happen. I’ve tuned all of that stuff out where if you don’t have a Power 5 offer by such and such you are not going to get one. You see all of that stuff on Twitter,” he said. “It is time to start looking at FCS schools or something like that. Or whatever people say.”

“I’ve done this long enough to tell you there is no science to this. There is no pattern for every kid. Everybody’s race and timing is going to be different. It is never over until it is really over I guess. The thing that Andrew did is admirable is it is hard when you are a good player and you know you have all the measurables and you see other people that you are better than and it feels like you are being left behind.”

“You see a lot of people complain. That they are being slept on. You see all those messages and all that stuff. You never saw any of that stuff from him. It was just I am going to work harder and that’s what he did. He got his opportunity.”

He feels that no kid should ever panic. They should never look at the calendar and see that it is August or September of their senior year and they still don’t have the big offers.

As unlikely as it sounds, he’s seen it unfold in back-to-back cycles with players that saw their stock skyrocket and still only wound up as 3-star recruits.

“Now I would argue that the path he took, a lot of kids would argue, would prefer that. By the end of this thing, he was the belle of the ball that everybody wanted to dance with. For lack of a better term.”

It was humorous how it all worked. The Parish coaches reached out to all their college contacts once his midseason highlight tape was out.

Most were full. They had met their running back commitment need for this cycle already.

“Then you know when somebody actually looked at his tape because they called back after we asked them to please watch the tape,” Novakov said. “Then miraculously they have a spot available all of a sudden for him.”

He saw that happen over and over in this wild recruitment.

“They don’t have a spot available. Until they watch it and they watch him. Then all of a sudden it is like now we are going to take two running backs in this class.”

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Georgia running back target Andrew Paul announced his choice on Wednesday.
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