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3 DAYS TO 2019 KICKOFF: Elijah Sullivan

In which BracketCat counts down the third day until the 2019 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State linebacker Elijah Sullivan.

#3 Elijah Sullivan
Elijah Sullivan (3) was on his way to having a breakout season at linebacker when an injury cut it short. Now, fresh off a medical hardship waiver, he will trade places with Justin Hughes, who started most of last year but must sit out 2019 with a torn ACL. Imagine if both could stay healthy at once...
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Goal No. 3: UNITY. Come together as never before.

#3 Elijah Sullivan

Redshirt Junior | 6-0 | 210 lbs. | Tucker, Georgia
Elijah Sullivan
Elijah Sullivan
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter (if healthy)
  • Status: On Scholarship

Elijah Sullivan (b. May 13, 1997) is a hard-working player who has seen action on both special teams and as a reserve linebacker during his career. Now he will compete for starting duties at linebacker in 2019 while continuing to add support on special teams.

Sullivan redshirted during the 2015 season. He had five tackles (four solo) for the White team in the 2016 spring game.

Sullivan then saw action in 11 games in 2016, totaling four tackles on kickoff coverage, and carded a season-high two tackles against Texas Tech, while he had one each against Missouri State and at Baylor.

He played in all 13 games in 2017, including starts at linebacker at Vanderbilt and against UCLA in the Cactus Bowl.

Sullivan carded 28 tackles on the year, which included a team-best nine special teams stops, with six of those coming on kickoff coverage.

He had a career-high six tackles against UCLA, came away with his first career sack at Kansas, and also recorded two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on the year.

Projected as a starter entering last season, Sullivan was held out of practice during Fan Appreciation Day for an undisclosed injury.

That proved to be an omen of things to come: He played in just three games in 2018, with one start, missing a majority of the season due to his injury.

Sullivan did manage to card seven tackles on the year, including a season-high five stops at West Virginia, and was granted a medical hardship for the season, keeping him as a junior.

This promising linebacker is that rarest of creatures — a player from SEC country who K-State stole away from a prestigious SEC program. He is a testament to former offensive coordinator Andre Coleman and his development of Southeastern recruiting pipelines.

Sullivan chose K-State over offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Marshall, plus interest from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and LSU. He was committed to Auburn for some time, but the Tigers bungled it.

Literally hours before National Signing Day, Auburn began telling Sullivan he was going to have to grayshirt, despite his being the Tigers’ third commitment and sticking with them for nine months. So he started looking around.

His high school and college teammate, Duke Shelley, put him in touch with Andre Coleman, and unlike so many other K-State Signing Day stories that end in unhappiness, the Wildcats were able to get a rare National Signing Day steal.

Sullivan played under head coach Bryan Lamar at Tucker High School, where he helped to lead the Tigers to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the state playoffs. He also prepped with fellow linebacker Justin Hughes, who is sitting out 2019 with an injury of his own.

Viewed as the 26th-best outside linebacker nationally by Scout and ranked 28th by Rivals, Sullivan also was regarded as the eighth-best outside linebacker in the South by Scout.

Sullivan was an honorable mention all-state selection and All-DeKalb County pick by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2014, and was named to the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) All-Region 2-AAAAAA team.