Dennis Fithian: Hi, Will! How are you?
Will Paul: I’m doing pretty good. How about you?
DF: Oh, fantastic! Thanks for joining us here! First up on the Ticket 1050 Signing Day Extravaganza. First of all, congratulations – a big day for you!
WP: Thank you!
DF: Is this one of those things that you looked at all through your career, this day right here, or was it when you committed? Take us through that, Will.
WP: Mainly it was my junior year and part of my senior year, I mean, I was just looking forward to the opportunity to play football in college, let alone Division 1. You know, I’m just excited that I can play at Michigan – one of the top ten colleges in the nation.
DF: And, hey, let’s get the particulars out of the way here. I’m looking at the press release here today sent out you by the University of Michigan has you down as William Paul. You like Will Paul or William Paul?
WP: I like Will better.
DF: Alright, well, Will Paul from here on out on Ticket 1050. Tell us, how does a guy from Missouri get attracted to a place like the University of Michigan?
WP: Well, I just liked the atmosphere. It was a very family, close-knit atmosphere. I liked the coaches – I liked them a lot. I liked the academics – what they presented. And I just liked all the football players and I met a lot of those guys and they were all real nice people as well.
DF: Talking with Will Paul here on Ticket 1050 – the WTKA Signing Day
Extravaganza. And Will, I don’t know if you know this, but in today’s Ann Arbor News on the front page of the sports section, Jim Cnockaert, a colleague of ours who does some radio work has a column on you today. Do you realize that?
WP: Oh, no, I did not know that!
DF: It’s a nice story about you and I haven’t really gone through the whole thing, but I’m just sitting here (thinking) oh, here, this is about Will Paul. But it talks about you in a national program to teach etiquette and dancing to middle school students. Tell us about that – that seems unusual for a football player.
WP: It’s called a cotillion class and I just teach seventh graders, you know, how to sit down correctly, ask girls and guys how to dance if they want to dance. Like phone etiquette, dinner matters, things like that, it’s just mainly everything about manners you can learn.
DF: Yep and do the young people take to you because, even though you’re a young guy, your size and I’m sure some of them are aware of your ability out on the football field. That has to help you, right?
WP: Right. I mean, a lot of them pay attention because they look at me, you know, somewhat as a role model and then they think, well, he’s going to play Division 1 football and he’s doing this - why can’t I, you know?
DF: Right. Will Paul here on WTKA and as a defensive linemen – you have to have – so you know when to turn it on or turn it off. So you know when you can have the nasty streak out on the football field or do you bring football etiquette to another level? Are you helping your guy up or saying yes, sir when you’re out there on the field?
WP: (laughs) Um…no, not really! I kind of play like you’re my enemy, so, I mean, when you’re on the field you’re my enemy, but when you’re off the field I’ll be nice to you and we can be great friends.
DF: Yeah, well, that’s a great thing. Tell us about your trip, when you came up to Michigan, who you met, who your position coach is – of course, it looks like you might have a different one now in Bill Sheridan.
WP: Yes. I met all of the coaches. Andy Moeller was my recruiting coach, so he recruited me. And I took a visit up there and Shawn Crable was up there along with Zuttah, and it was just a great trip meeting those two guys. I mean, I didn’t know then that they were going to go to Michigan, but now that I’ve met them, you know, I know them well enough where I can go up to them and talk to them again. I just loved being up there for that weekend – it was just a great amount of fun and I liked going to the basketball game and seeing the stadium and just talking to everybody and seeing how they liked it.
DF: Now, have you ever seen…have you ever been inside Michigan Stadium when it’s full?
WP: No, I have not. I’ve just been in there when it’s been empty.
DF: So your first opportunity will probably come when it’s jam-packed the last day of August when Central Michigan comes in and that’s gotta be something you’re looking forward to.
WP: Right – I’m just excited! I talked to Dan Dierdorf and he just tells me that it’s a great experience and you’ll never forget it that first time you run out of that tunnel. I’m looking forward to it!
DF: What other sports are you doing besides football?
WP: I’m running track in the spring.
DF: What are you going to do in track?
WP: What am I going to do? I’m going to run the 400, 200 and 100.
DF: 400, 200 and you are 6-4 over 250, huh?
WP: Yeah. 257.
DF: Wow! So, what’s your ideal weight? What do you want to get up to? Do you have a frame that people say you could pack some more on? What’s your goal?
WP: A lot of people say I could put more weight on, but, you know, whatever the coaches up there want me to put on, I’ll put on and whatever they want me to lose, I’ll lose.
DF: Are you one of those guys who is a workout warrior? Do you love getting into the weight room?
WP: Yeah, I work out two times a day for five days a week.
DF: Yep. And, Will, before we let you go, tell us about who your mentors are in high school, your biggest influences in football (and) in general.
WP: Probably my parents, you know, because they’re always there, always my fans and everything. You know, they’re always supportive and they were real supportive of my decision for Michigan – they liked that a lot. I mean, I just – mainly my parents and then my coach, Coach Boyd Manny, I mean, he’s a real nice guy, he’s a real big influence on my life, too, you know? It’s not like a coach/player relationship – it’s more of a friendship and mainly those people right there are the most important to me in my life.
DF: Well, fantastic, Will. I know all the listeners right now are very excited to see you get up there and put on the winged helmet and the Maize and Blue. Congratulations on signing your letter of intent with Michigan today.
WP: Thank you!