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A cut above

There was a time when Paul Shol fancied a fake barber pole for his Concordia dorm room to promote his modest haircut business. Spending $30 for clippers, "Shol-time Cuts," as it was called, took off when Shol was a sophomore. His clientele, which...

Paul Shol

There was a time when Paul Shol fancied a fake barber pole for his Concordia dorm room to promote his modest haircut business.

Spending $30 for clippers, "Shol-time Cuts," as it was called, took off when Shol was a sophomore.

His clientele, which has since dwindled, swelled to around 20 at one point.

"Shol-time Cuts is out of business now," joked Shol, whose teammates call him Shol-time. "It's more of a social thing now."

Now a senior wide receiver for Concordia, Shol is also more focused on perfecting how he can buzz through opposing kickoff and punt coverages and secondaries.

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However, Shol hasn't totally discarded his clippers. He still does haircuts for a handful of friends, including teammates Carl Hauser (who cuts Shol's hair) and Nick Alton.

"You can only get one hairstyle and it's the same length all the way around," cracked Concordia senior quarterback Jesse Nelson.

Shol has more versatility on the football field. He's an ace kickoff and punt returner. A precise route runner, strong perimeter blocker, he's also worked his way into the wide receiver rotation.

"I'd say he's one of the most dangerous return men in the league," Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said. "He's an extra weapon. ... We're extremely blessed to have a guy like Paul. He's going to give you every ounce of energy and then some every time he is out there."

Shol ranked third in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in kickoff returns last season, averaging 24.4 yards per return. He's returned just four kickoffs this season for an average of 26.8 yards per return.

Shol is hoping to live up to his "Shol-time" moniker at 1 p.m. Saturday as the Cobbers host St. Thomas at Jake Christiansen Stadium. He has one career kickoff return for a touchdown, a 90-yarder at St. John's last season.

From Fergus Falls, Minn., Shol relishes the rush he gets as he anticipates a kickoff or punt return, especially the game's opening kickoff.

"Everyone on the field is trying to find you," said Shol, who is also a decathlete on the Concordia track team. "That to me is a like a challenge so 'Bring it on.' It's a big play of the game. ... They are not going to get me. That's my mindset."

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Like his haircuts, Shol has a no-frills approach to football. Horan said Shol diligently studies film and isn't afraid to have his play critiqued.

That preparation coupled with an aggressive attitude blend to make Shol effective on Saturdays, particularly in the return game.

"You're not getting anything half speed from him," Horan said. "He's always full speed. This kid's a North-and-South guy and he does it now. He doesn't wait around."

If you go

- What: St. Thomas at Concordia

- When: 1 p.m. Saturday

- Where: Jake Christiansen Stadium

- Tickets: $7 adults; $4 students

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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