FAYETTEVILLE — Christopher Paul Sr. is the head football coach at Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County Middle School and his son just committed to the University of Arkansas.
Christopher Paul Jr., 6-1, 235, is a linebacker who chose the Razorbacks over several other schools including Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan State, TCU, West Virginia, Washington State, Minnesota and many more.
In two years with the varsity at Crisp County, Paul has 251 tackles, 126 solo, 22 for loss, 12 quarterback hurries, 11 sacks, a forced fumble, three recovered ones and two pass breakups. His father talked about the type player his son is and what the Hogs are getting.
“He has been reading pulling guards since he was seven year’s old,” Paul Sr. said. “That’s the main thing a linebacker has to do. I have always taught him he has to be the quarterback of the defense so he should know what everybody on the defense does. By him doing that he can’t help but be a leader. He has been doing that since he was seven or eight year’s old in Pee Wee football.”
Paul Sr. talked about his son’s speed at linebacker.
“He has sneaky speed,” Paul Sr. said. “Because he’s 235 pounds you probably think you can outrun him or whatever because some people were questioning can he run or whatever? Yes he can run. He’s definitely strong and aggressive. He just plays an aggressive style of defense and takes great angles.
“He understands and picks up on a defense. If you explain to him what you want done and you go ahead and keep talking. Then you come back to him and ask what do you do on this or whatever? He’s gonna pretty much rattle it off to you because he understands defensive side of the ball very well.”
Paul Jr. has been around football his entire life with his dad coaching. Several players at Arkansas such as Kam Curl, Brandon and Austin Allen and others have also come from coaching families in recent years.
“Exactly, just like even with Jimmy Smith who coaches running backs at Arkansas,” Paul Sr. said. “My son didn’t get a chance to play against him, but we played them in a semifinal game one time when he won the state championship when he was the head coach at Cedar Grove. My son was the ball boy then. Those coach’s kids are gonna be around ball all the time.”
Paul Sr. shared a philosophy he has instilled in the younger Paul that helps him deal with life as well as football.
“I always tell him one of life’s lessons is, ‘You treat everybody like you want to be treated and second thing you always think 10 year’s ahead. When you are 27 you think like you are 37. When you are 17 you think like you are 27. I want you to think ahead,”‘ Paul Sr. said. “If you know you are coming from the eighth grade and you want to play varsity ball in the ninth grade you better have an up on knowing what’s going on. You need to know what’s going on once you step on the field so when the coach call let me get this guy in. Even if it’s scout team, you be the best scout team player out there where they can’t help but put you on the field.”
Paul Sr. also said he has told his son a secret on how to assure himself of playing time.
“Another thing I have told him also is ‘you be so good they can’t afford to take you off the field,'” Paul Sr. said. “One thing that might have been a blessing and a curse because he never comes off the field. To me you’ve got to always have that mentality my hand is always hot. Because you hear coaches say they are going with the hot hand. If that’s the case my hands are always gonna stay hot. You’ve got to do stuff to separate yourself.”
Paul is the second linebacker commitment to Arkansas. He joins Jonesboro’s Marco Avant, 6-3, 212, as linebackers in the Class of 2021. Paul helped Crisp County to an 11-4 record in 2019 and a Class AAA state runner-up finish.
Paul may be able to graduate early and join Arkansas in January.