2023 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Central Catholic’s Cole Sullivan

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Wednesday, August 2, 2023 | 4:22 PM


Cole Sullivan received several dozen Division I offers during the college recruiting process.

In the end, Michigan won out as he verbally committed to the Wolverines in May.

“I am really happy with my decision,” Sullivan said. “I did what’s best for me. Now, it’s great to see a bunch of Michigan fans around wherever I am going. Being a part of that ongoing legacy, it is really exciting.

“I now have a big target on my back. It’s just makes me work that much harder to prove to people why I am going to Michigan. I am as hungry as I’ve always been.”

But Sullivan, a rising senior linebacker, H-back and tight end at Central Catholic, knows there is much still to be done between now and when he officially steps onto the Ann Arbor campus.

“I am excited to get there, but I am definitely not looking past this season,” Sullivan said. “We have some unfinished business.”

Sullivan enters his final football season with the Vikings off a junior year when he paced the defense with 117 tackles. Central Catholic, which fell to North Allegheny in the Class 6A title game, finished 2022 with a 7-5 mark.

A broken thumb suffered in the season opener against St. Edward put Sullivan in a cast and limited him to the defensive side of the ball.

“They had to pad it up, so it was like a club on my arm,” Sullivan said.

When the cast was removed before the Week 7 game against Penn Hills, he again became a two-way threat and ended the season with 13 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown.

“It was great to get back on the offensive side of the ball,” Sullivan said. “I was just happy to be able to help my team out in whatever ways I could.”

For his efforts last fall, Sullivan was selected to the Tribune-Review Terrific 25 all-star team.

Central Catholic went through a coaching transition earlier this year when longtime coach Terry Totten resigned in December after 18 seasons at the helm.

North Hills graduate Ryan Lehmeier was hired in January to lead the Vikings. Sullivan said it was tough to see Totten leave the program, but at the same time, he’s excited to see what the new regime can accomplish.

“The staff came in and brought a lot of new energy,” Sullivan said.

“There were a lot of changes, but they have benefited the program once they were put in place. I think we take steps in the right direction every day.”

Sullivan said there is a lot of optimism for the 2023 season with the mix of returning starters, others coming back, and the newcomers hoping to make their mark in all three phases.

“Summer has been going great building team chemistry,” he said. “Everyone is trying to do their part and fit in their place. We’re really coming together as a team for the goals of winning WPIAL and state championships. Everyone is really buying in.”

Lehmeier said Sullivan has shown valuable leadership on and off the field in the offseason and again has set himself up to be a major cog in the Central Catholic football machine.

“Cole definitely understands the tradition of Central Catholic football and the expectations put on the program each year,” Lehmeier said.

“He’s had a great deal of success as an underclassman here, and he was one of the people I was most anxious to meet and get to sit down with. I coached against him last year, and I thought so highly of him. He’s 10 times a better person than he is a football player, and he’s a heckuva student, too. He’s so mature beyond his years. I am glad to get to work with him, and I know he’s ready to have a great senior year for himself and for the team.”

Cole Sullivan

Central Catholic

Senior

6-4/210

Linebacker/H-back/Tight End

Committed to: Michigan

Other Division I offers: Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Akron, Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa State, Kent State, Louisville, Maryland, Miami (Ohio), Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Utah and Virginia Tech.

2022 statistics: 117 tackles; 13 receptions, 241 yards, 1 TD

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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