Better Late Than Never For Tiger Signee

It was a memorable signing day for one of Auburn's future football players.

Lillington, N.C.--Few high school seniors enjoyed national signing day more than Western Harnett High School lineman William Sullivan.

A 6-4, 296-pound offensive tackle and guard, Sullivan's strong performance against many of the top line prospects in the South at last summer's Down ‘'n Dirty Lineman Camp in Florida had Sullivan optimistic that big school offers would be coming in right and left during his senior season. Coaches at the camp assured him that it was certain to happen.

However, as his senior season progressed, the lineman who grew and put on 50 pounds between his junior and senior years, was getting looks from the big boys, but no offers.

It wasn't until the 11th hour that Sullivan got a call from offensive coordinator Hugh Nall telling him that Auburn was interested. Nall, who is also the line coach, flew to North Carolina to check out Sullivan in person after being impressed with video he had watched of the two-time All-Conference performer.

When the coach saw with his own eyes that Sullivan was six-foot-four in bare feet, the lineman was offered a visit to AU for the last recruiting weekend prior to national signing day. However, it was with the understanding that there was no promise of a scholarship. So, less than 24 hours after taking a recruiting trip to little Catawba College, he flew south to Auburn for an official visit.

"I had a wonderful time on the trip," says Sullivan, who notes that he made his mind up on the trip that he was going to say yes to Nall and the Tigers if they asked him to come to Auburn. However, he left campus on Sunday without a scholarship offer, but was told there was a possibility of one coming by signing day. However, he was also told to be prepared to not get the offer.

"Coach Nall called and told us that he went in and talked with Coach (Tommy) Tuberville on Wednesday afternoon and they decided to offer a scholarship," Bill Sullivan says. "William called me from school and was really excited. He said, ‘Dad, you need to come down here right away. Auburn offered a scholarship and there is another one here, too. We have got a decision to make.' He told me North Carolina State also sent him a scholarship to the school and wanted him to sign."

The Sullivans had a family conference to decide which way William was headed. "We talked about it and came to the conclusion that Auburn has a stronger football program and Auburn is the better choice academically, too," Bill Sullivan says. "It really wasn't a hard decision."

If the offers hadn't come from Auburn and the Wolfpack, Sullivan was planning to sign scholarship papers that had been sent to the school by Coastal Carolina.

When the lineman arrives on the Auburn campus this summer, look for him to play center. His high school coach, Bill Wyrick, says he believes that is going to be Sullivan's best position at the SEC level.

Wyrick says it was a mystery to him why the lineman didn't get more early attention from major college coaches. "I think he is the type of player who will have a chance to do well at the SEC level," Wyrick says. "He has the ability and size to be a good college player, plus he is a really good kid, too."

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