Blue Chip Chat: Alex Paulina, Canon-McMillan


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THE SCOOP

A powerful force on the offensive line, Paulina is one of the top players at his position in the state. This season, he will anchor a line for a Big Macs team looking to improve after a 1-8 season under first-year coach Ron Coder, a former Penn State and NFL lineman.

DATA

Year: Senior

Height: 6-3

Weight: 280

Position: OL

COLLEGE TALK

Paulina committed to Pitt in January, becoming the fourth WPIAL offensive lineman in the past two recruiting classes to choose the Panthers. Listed as a three-star prospect, Paulina also had an offer from Virginia Tech, according to Rivals.com.

OUR QUESTIONS, HIS ANSWERS

What ultimately sold you on Pitt? Mostly, the coaching staff. I got to know them really well right out of the gate -- coach [Joe] Rudolph and coach [Paul] Chryst and coach [Jim] Hueber. It was just a great fit. They have an amazing, up-and-coming program. It's going to be there in the future.

You're one of many local linemen headed to Pitt. Do you feel like that's a group that could turn out to be pretty special? The WPIAL's always been strong, especially these past couple of years. I feel like from playing against each other, we're going to have one of those bonds that not most people have because you know each other and you've literally beaten the crap out of each other. You go in with a mutual respect as opposed to not knowing somebody at all.

What kind of improvement do you think we'll see from your team this season? I have two wins in my high school career. With the other guys I've been playing with for seven years, we're really working. We have the heart and the drive to go out there and turn the program around.

What defines you as a football player? Honestly, I wouldn't say it's my size or my strength. A lot of people would say that, but I feel like I fall into the category of most people when they say the heart and the drive to go out there and play the game you love.

Who's the toughest guy you've ever had to block in the WPIAL? It's a tossup. Probably Mike Grimm. He's one of the hardest kids I've ever blocked.

AND FINALLY...

Do you know what you want to major in at Pitt? I want to go into mechanical engineering, with a minor in robotics.

How'd you first get interested in that? I always wanted to do something working with my hands. I want to be able to do more with my life than just play football and be a football player. I want to give back. One of my favorite charities is the Wounded Warrior Project and if maybe one day I can help develop prosthetics or something to make these soldiers' lives easier, I'd love to do that.


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