Hampered by a torn hamstring his sophomore year, Stafford burst onto the scene his junior year when he won the vast majority of his races on the cross country course and on the track. He then followed that up with a stellar senior campaign which he concluded with a 2A State-Runner Up. Paul had a lot of offers but narrowed down the school search to UF, FSU, and Lipscomb.
When it came down to choosing where he would attend, Stafford said, "There were a lot of things about FSU that were different, but the main thing had to be how much interest Coach Braman and (Griff) Graves showed in me. For someone that's been coaching as long as he has at that top level, you would think that I would be looked at as just another 15:20 range guy. But the time that Coach Braman and Coach Graves spent with me throughout my process really stood out above all things."
When asked about what Stafford is looking forward to most, he responded, "I definitely can't wait to see where the team goes in the future. With a strong foundation of young guys coming in, that all have that right mindset of wanting to win, the sky is the limit under the guidance of Coach Braman. I also definitely can't wait to join up with guys already there like fellow Floridian Caleb Pottorff and Tyler Dau. I have a lot of respect for both of them and I know we'll all be great teammates."
Although the recruiting is over for Stafford he still has big goals as he finishes off the "bell lap" of his high school career. "I want to go Sub 9 in the 3200, under 4:13 in the 1600 so I can break the Lake Wales record, and I want to win my first state championship."
Paul Stafford's Personal Bests
- 1600: 4:19.40
- 3200: 9:28.74
- 5000: 15:23.02