AFTER A BREAKOUT junior season, Northeast High's Gladimir "The Destroyer'' Paul has certainly capitalized, committing to the University of Virginia yesterday with several other schools still in pursuit.
The 6-2, 210-pound defensive end garnered attention last season for his ability to disrupt and demolish opposing quarterbacks.
"Last year, I really got my name out there with what I can do on the football field and this is just a dream come true, and I'm really happy and content right now,'' Paul said between practice sessions yesterday.
"He had 28 sacks last year,'' said Vikings coach Phil Gormley. "And if you go back and look at the film, we had a tough schedule last year...so it wasn't like he piled up sacks against [lesser teams]...The better teams that we played, the better he played.''
Paul, who lives near Castor Avenue and Emerald Street in the Northeast, also had offers from Temple, UConn, UMass, Villanova and several others.
However, he just couldn't pass up UVA, which offered him a scholarship earlier this week, and sees him either staying at defensive end or moving to outside linebacker.
"It's just a great school academically and it's a program that's on the rise, and I wanted to be a part of that,'' Paul said.
Ironically, the 3.3-GPA student with an appetite for quarterbacks is interested in helping professions such as physical therapy, nursing and sports medicine.
That is, of course, if his other plans don't come to fruition.
"This is the beginning of something great,'' Paul said. "I have some goals for myself like playing in the NFL that I want to accomplish, and this is the beginning.''