AUSTIN, Texas -- Even for those with no conception of the athletic exploits of Munday's Dee Paul, one look at the rings on his right hand following his gold in the Texas UIL 1A long jump on Friday was all that was necessary to understand the type of high school career that he had.
Dee Paul's rings -- Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)
He'll have another ring to proudly display in the near future to add to the long jump and high jump gold medals from last year, as well as the football state championships, in which the 2013 Texas Tech signee was instrumental in leading the Moguls to a win over Tenaha in a rematch from 2011. Paul ran for over 250 yards on the day and scored three touchdowns to key the victory.
In fact, by the end of the state meet, Paul had earned himself 10 total state titles, an unbelievable number that probably makes him one of the most decorated track athletes in Texas in recent years.
Having dealt with the pressure of the biggest stages of Texas athletics before, Paul wasn't worried about how he would perform on Friday, until an opponent ratcheted it up a notch with a strong jump.
"At first I wasn't feeling any pressure, I was just thinking that I'll just go out there and do what I do and I'll win," he said after his long jump win.
"Then after the guy went 23'8'' it kinda put a lot of pressure on me because I wasn't jumping very good, but I took care of business later on."
A strong jump prior to the winning effort that earned him gold helped buoy his confidence.
"I was very confident on my winning jump because the jump before went 23'5'', so I was feeling confident and I was ready to compete at that point."
And so he was.
As the final event of Paul's high school career, he was feeling some mixed emotions afterwatrds, but the end of his time in high school merely represents the beginning of another athletic endeavor.
"It's a bittersweet feeling to be done with my high school career, but I'm ready to be at Tech," he said.
For some two-way high school prospects like Paul who project favorably on either side of the ball at the next level, it's a difficult choice to give up having the football in their hands and head over to play defense. That isn't the case for Paul, who still play cornerback as a Red Raider, by his choice.
"Just because it won't be as hard on my body and it will help me stay healthy for track."
Paul did admit that at some point he may have to make a decision between football and track, as many athletes who compete in both sports have to do during their college careers. He's aware of that fact and will address it when the appropriate time comes.
Until that point, he's preparing for his time at Texas Tech and staying in communication with the new coaching staff at Texas Tech, especially head coach Kliff Kingsbury, with whom Paul says he talks several times a week.
"It's going in a really, really good direction," Paul said of the Red Raider program under the young and charismatic Kingsbury. "The kids are fired up and the coaching staff is fired up. Add those two things together and there are some good things that are going to happen."
With his exceptional athleticism, proven ability under pressure, and understanding of what it takes to win at the highest levels, there seems to be little doubt that Paul will be a big part of what appears to be an increasingly bright future for the Texas Tech football program.