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2024 Central Catholic LB Cole Sullivan’s Journey Has Come Full Circle With Pitt Offer

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Central Catholic 4-star Class of 2024 linebacker Cole Sullivan

While Cole Sullivan was growing up in Pittsburgh, he watched his hometown Pitt Panthers nearly every weekend.

As he watched Pitt, instead of honing in on someone like Tyler Boyd or James Conner, he watched the defensive side of the ball. He was a big fan of one of the biggest — well, strongest — defensive players in football.

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“I liked watching Aaron Donald,” Sullivan told PSN. “I would say he’s a little different, I’m actually a little taller than him, but he’s definitely more physical — he’s a beast inside. I think his ability to dominate even double teams is just amazing.”

Sullivan, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete from Central Catholic High in Pittsburgh, isn’t the biggest. He’s still best suited for playing linebacker, but he’s being looked at as a linebacker or defensive end at the next level.

At least, that’s where the Pitt coaching staff projects him at this point.

Sullivan picked up an offer from safeties coach Cory Sanders and Pitt over the weekend, both adding yet another team to his recruiting chase and an offer from the team he grew up supporting.

“I grew up a Pitt fan being from the city, so it means a lot to get (the offer),” Sullivan said. “They’re kinda the school that’s closest to me, so I grew up going to Pitt games and everything, so it’s pretty cool looking back on that and seeing that I became that guy on the field in a way.”

Pitt was just one of the latest schools to jump into Sullivan’s recruiting chase, adding to a list of offers that currently includes Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, Oklahoma, Duke, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Iowa State, Akron, Ohio, Syracuse, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Boston College and Kent State.

When it comes to Pitt, he’s heard a lot from Sanders and linebackers coach Ryan Manalac — and head coach Pat Narduzzi — as he’s learned more about the program.

“It’s been good,” Sullivan said. “I’ve been in touch for a little while now with Pitt, since the season. They’ve just been keeping in contact. It’s just been a good relationship talking back and forth. I was glad when they finally pulled the trigger on me.

“They see me as a linebacker and edge rusher, they think I might grow into a d-end.” 

Sullivan isn’t exactly the biggest defender in the world, standing at just 200 pounds, but he’s content to let his high school career play out. If he grows into his 6-foot-3 frame and fills out, he’ll be a defensive end. If he doesn’t, he’ll be quick enough to remain a linebacker.

Manalac has been Sullivan’s lead recruiter thus far, but it’s certainly been a team effort. There have been some excellent talks with Manalac so far, and he’d be honored to be coached by Manalac one day. He’s learned exactly what Pitt thinks of him.

“They just like my physicality, my range and they like my pass-rushing ability,” Sullivan said. “I think they like my versatility overall.”

Sullivan has certainly been versatile for Central Catholic, recording 117 tackles, two sacks, four pass breakups and a forced fumble defensively — and 14 catches for 268 yards offensively — as a junior in 2022.

And when it comes to Pitt, he sees a few areas where Pitt stands out already.

“I think it’s really cool that they share the facility with the Steelers, so it’s gonna be like being a pro almost,” Sullivan said. “The team has been trending in the right direction pretty much the past decade here, so I like the future of the program, and I think they have something going there.”

Sullivan is planning a visit to Pitt in the spring, either March or April for a spring practice visit, but there isn’t anything set in stone to this point. He’s focusing on his basketball season before he begins to plan any sort of visits.

Even as Sullivan’s recruiting process — which still doesn’t feature ratings from the three main recruiting aggregators yet — has blown up, he’s found a way to balance the good and the bad.

“It’s just been really exciting,” Sullivan said. “It almost doesn’t feel real, it’s a little overwhelming, but in a great way. It’s very humbling, and this is everything I dreamed about as a little kid.”

Sullivan hasn’t yet begun to narrow down a list of offers that seemingly grows larger by the day, but Pitt has found its way into his consideration.

“I haven’t really narrowed anything down, really at all, but (Pitt is) definitely an option for me,” Sullivan said. “That’s all I can really say at this time because I haven’t really narrowed it down. But yeah, Pitt is definitely an intriguing option because it’s close to home and I grew up a Pitt fan.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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SouthSide412
1 year ago

Watched him play basketball against Butler, looked like a man amongst boys!

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