Kansas gets commitment from Eastern Michigan safety Jarrett Paul

Jarrett Paul left Eastern Michigan earlier this spring, hoping to come back to the Power 5 conference. On Wednesday, that goal became a reality.

Paul promised to transfer to Kansas after the official visit, his second transfer. For him, the visit was more of a formality than most players. He has told defensive coordinator Brian Bolland and general manager Rob Yianello that he intends to commit before heading to Lawrence from his home in Brooklyn.

“I saw their success in Buffalo, and I knew they could do the same in Kansas,” said Paul, who chose a Rutgers scholarship over Buffalo’s in high school. “I’m only going to be there for a short time, but I know they’ll get there slowly but surely.”

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound defensive back who played for Rutgers in 2018 and 2019 decided to move after the start of the 2020 season and attended Eastern Michigan until last season.

He started 12 of 13 games for the Eagles at cornerback, completing 45 tackles, 6 missed passes and 1 forced turnover. During his two years at Rutgers, he played 23 games, including starting eight in a free and safe manner as a sophomore after playing mostly on special teams as a freshman.

Despite the second move, Paul will be able to play in Kansas immediately as he graduates from Eastern Michigan in the next few weeks. He said he expects one more year of eligibility, although he may have two; the NCAA awarded players an additional year of eligibility at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Paul left Rutgers in September 2020 , and said he was told he had to apply for an exemption.

“I just know that I’m an older guy and I’m going to be able to come in and whatever knowledge I have, I’ll be able to spread it to the young people and have a good impact,” Paul said. “Then basically, I can play anywhere, so I feel like I have a lot of flexibility. I’m comfortable playing anywhere and I feel like I can help defenders to do that.”

Kansas coaches told him they wanted him back to safety and playing five cents. He was also a high school cornerback. He first played at Christ the King in Queens before moving to Paramus Catholic Church in New Jersey before his senior season.

“He’s always been a quiet kid, but likes to work and like to compete,” said Dan Sabella, Paul’s coach at Paramus Catholic Church and now at nearby Don Bosco Prep. “It’s the first thing that gets you excited — kind of like a linebacker, but can run like a corner.”

Paul can provide the Jayhawks with the help they need to be safe. Kenny Logan, who led the Big 12 with 113 tackles last season and will be a senior in the fall, has become a starter. Defensive back coach Jordan Peterson said sophomore OJ Burroughs is the main contender to play alongside him, but fellow sophomores Edwin White-Schultz and Jayson Gilliom will compete to start.

Paul’s commitment comes as the Jayhawks recently received from a player looking to move. Minnesota wide receiver Doug Emilien, Buffalo right tackle Deondre Doiron and Hutchinson Community College defensive end Davion Westmoreland also decided to join the program starting May 1. Canyons College outside linebacker Dean Miller, a freshman last season, also ended his official visit Wednesday in Kansas with no commitment.

Paul said he enjoyed his time at Eastern Michigan, which lost 7-6 to Liberty in the LendingTree Bowl last season, because “in football, we’re very close, a very tight-knit group.”

Now, he’s heading to the Big 12 to wrap up his college days — and hopefully a reappearance in the bowl game will cap them off.

“I saw the vibe of the show,” Paul said. “They’ve improved in the last few weeks of the season and I can see the players’ support. They want to win. They know they can. It’s very encouraging. I’m looking forward to being a part of that and joining that.”

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