- Apr 11, 2009
- Reaction score
- Greensboro, NC
Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska
Honors & Awards
First-Team All-Big 12 Punt Returner (Phil Steele, ESPN.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rivals.com in 2010)
Second-Team All-Big 12 Wide Receiver (Coaches in 2010; Kansas City Star,
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Morning News in 2009)
Second-Team All-Big 12 Punt/Kickoff Returner (Coaches in 2010)
Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 Punt Returner (AP, Coaches in 2009)
Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP (2009)
Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week (2008 vs. San Jose State)
Paul Hornung Most Versatile Player of the Week (Oct. 23 at Oklahoma St.; 1 of 4)
Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2008)
Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll (2008, 2010)
Cletus Fischer Native Son Award
Niles Paul completed his Nebraska career in 2010, finishing one of the most productive careers for a receiver and return specialist in Cornhusker history. Paul returned to action in the Holiday Bowl after missing the previous two games with a foot injury.
Paul continued to provide big plays in the passing and return game for Nebraska in 2010. He caught 39 passes for a team-high 516 yards, including one touchdown. He also ranked among the Big 12 leaders in punt and kickoff return average, at 11.4 yards per punt return and 24.2 yards on kickoff returns. He had the longest kickoff return by a Cornhusker in more than a half-century with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Oklahoma State.
The 6-1, 220-pound Paul has made his mark in the NU record books during his career. Paul had 103 career receptions to rank sixth on the NU career list and his 1,532 career receiving yards rank fifth in school history. His 1,887 career kickoff return yards are second in school history, while Paul’s career total of 4,122 all-purpose yards ranks fifth at Nebraska.
Paul received numerous honors for his performance. He was a second-team All-Big 12 pick by the league’s coaches as both a wide receiver and a return specialist.
Western Kentucky: Paul turned in a strong opener, racking up 158 all-purpose yards on nine touches, including five catches for 92 yards and a score...hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Cody Green in the fourth quarter...returned three punts for 58 yards, including a long of 31...game captain against WKU. Idaho: Led Nebraska with four catches for 31 yards, while also seeing one snap as NU’s quarterback in the wildcat formation. Washington: Turned in a solid day in all-purpose yards with 123 yards on nine touches...hauled in a pass for 21 yards while returning six punts for 58 yards and adding 37 yards on a pair of kickoff returns. South Dakota State: Was held without a catch for the first time in nine games dating back to last November. Kansas State: Paul’s all-around play helped Nebraska rack up 578 yards of total offense, including a school-record 11.288 yards per play...hauled in a 17-yard pass in the second quarter for a first down, as the scoring drive helped NU extend its lead to 14-3...also returned three kickoffs for 48 yards. Texas: He totaled over 100 all-purpose yards in the loss to Texas, making six catches for 66 yards while also returning two punts for 16 yards. Oklahoma State: Set career bests in all-purpose (274) yards and receptions (nine) in helping NU top the No. 17 Cowboys in Stillwater...his 274 all-purpose yards ranked sixth on Husker single-game charts...returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown - the second-longest return in school history and longest since 1949...hauled in eight of his nine catches in the second half, as he posted his first 100-yard day of the season....his nine catches ranked eighth on NU’s single-game list. Missouri: Helped the Huskers pick up their first win over a top-10 team since 2001, catching one pass for 21 yards to set up a first-quarter field goal and returning two kickoffs for 55 yards, including a 40-yard return in the second quarter. Iowa State: Had one catch for five yards and two kickoff returns for 40 yards, including a 27-yarder. Kansas: Totaled 142 all-purpose yards, returning two kickoffs for 63 yards while also hauling in seven passes for 79 yards in NU’s 20-3 win. Texas A&M: Caught four passes for 53 yards...had a 24-yard reception on 3rd-and-8 in the third quarter that led to a game-tying field goal. Colorado: Did not play, as he suffered a foot injury two days before the game. Oklahoma: Did not play due to the foot injury. Washington: Paul returned to action against the Huskies and had three kickoff returns for 61 yards. He did not have a catch.
Paul was extremely productive on his 40 receptions, averaging 19.9 yards per catch. That average ranked third in school history among players with at least 20 receptions in a season. He had nine receptions of 35 yards or longer.
In the return game his 27.9-yard average on kickoff returns was second in the Big 12 and the best by a Husker in two decades, while his 10.7 yards per punt return ranked second in the league. He added 48 yards and a touchdown on three rushes and was the only Husker to reach the end zone by rush, reception and return. He finished with a team-high 121.2 all-purpose yards per game, good for ninth in the Big 12.
Paul's first big game came against Arkansas State when he had a career-high six catches for 69 yards, including his first career touchdown catch. He also had his second career rushing touchdown from 30 yards out, and accounted for 169 all-purpose yards. He tallied 176 all-purpose yards at Virginia Tech, including a 55-yard punt return.
Paul produced his first 100-yard receiving game at Missouri, with six catches for 102 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. He helped NU's fourth-quarter outburst, coming up with 69 receiving yards in the final quarter. He produced his third six-catch game against Iowa State, good for 143 yards-the ninth-best receiving day in school history. His effort included a 72-yard reception and Paul totaled 208 all-purpose yards.
At Kansas, Paul had a career-high 154 yards on four catches, with each of his receptions covering at least 35 yards. His 154 receiving yards ranked as the sixth-best total in school history. He added 82 yards in returns for a career-high 244 all-purpose yards. He had four catches for 82 yards against Kansas State, including a 47-yarder. Against Colorado, Paul opened the scoring with a 59-yard punt return touchdown. He continued to be a factor in the return game against Texas with a 43-yard punt return to set up a field goal and a 42-yard kickoff return.
Paul earned Offensive MVP honors in the Holiday Bowl victory over Arizona. He totaled 123 receiving yards on four catches, including a career-long 74-yard touchdown to cap the scoring. He added a 20-yard rush, a season-long 49-yard kickoff return and 45 yards on three punt returns for 237 all-purpose yards.
Paul played in all 13 games with four starts. He finished with 23 receptions for 214 yards and had six games with multiple catches. He had three games with three or more receptions, including four catches for 25 yards at Texas Tech, career highs of five catches for 34 yards against Baylor and three receptions for 31 yards at Kansas State. Paul added two receptions each against San Jose State, Iowa State and Clemson.
Paul made perhaps his biggest impact as a sophomore on Nebraska's special teams units, most notably as Nebraska's primary kickoff return man. Paul averaged 23.6 yards on 41 kickoff returns to rank 11th in the Big 12 Conference. His 969 kickoff return yards were the third-most in Nebraska history. He supplied a highlight early in the season, returning a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown against San Jose State to earn Big 12 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week honors. The score extended NU's lead to 21-12 early in the fourth quarter and Nebraska went on to win by a 35-12 margin.
The San Jose State game was Paul's first of four games with at least 100 kickoff return yards, including a season-high 156 yards on five returns at Texas Tech, when he added a 69-yard return. Paul also returned seven punts for 77 yards, including a season-long 28-yarder vs. Western Michigan. Paul played on NU's coverage units and made eight tackles, including three against Kansas. He also recovered fumbles on punt coverage at Iowa State and at Kansas State. Both recoveries led to Nebraska touchdowns.
Paul played in seven games as a reserve receiver and on kickoff coverage. His lone catch of the season was a six-yarder in the opener against Nevada. Paul had an eight-yard kickoff return against Kansas State, and had assisted tackles against Nevada and Kansas State while serving on the Huskers' kickoff coverage unit.
Before Nebraska (Omaha North HS)
Paul was regarded as the top prospect in Nebraska in 2007, and was NU's first signee from Omaha North since 1998. As a senior, Paul hauled in 46 passes for 814 yards and 13 touchdowns for Coach Larry Martin. Paul averaged nearly 18 yards per reception, and also averaged better than 18 yards per punt return.
Paul helped North to a 9-2 record and a trip to the Class A state quarterfinals. He was named a first-team All-Nebraska and first-team All-Metro selection by the Omaha World-Herald and a first-team Super-State pick by the Lincoln Journal Star. He was also one of 58 players who were selected as a Parade All-American.
Paul averaged 19.5 yards on 32 receptions and caught 10 touchdown passes as a junior, and also averaged 25.6 yards per kickoff return. He earned second-team all-state honors from the Lincoln Journal Star and all-metro honors from the World-Herald. Paul was regarded as one of the top 20 receiving prospects in the country by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Paul led the West team in receiving in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio.
In track, Paul won the 110-meter hurdles at the state meet as both a junior and a senior, while finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the 100-meter dash as a senior. His 4x100-meter relay team also finished second. In 2006 he led the Vikings to the Class A state track title by winning four gold medals. Individually, he captured the Class A titles in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and was part of all-class gold medal teams in the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. Paul also won the Class A state title in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore. On the basketball court, Paul was among the Class A leaders in scoring and rebounding, averaging nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior.
Niles is the son of Nick DeCosta-Paul and was born on Aug. 9, 1989. He is majoring in communication studies and sociology, and was a second-team academic All-Big 12 pick in 2008. Paul was also named to the 2008 Big 12 Commissioner's Spring Academic Honor Roll. Paul has volunteered with NU's hospital visits and at the F Street Recreation Center.