By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Austin Sullivan was playing badminton in gym class when Penn State football coach James Franklin visited Minisink Valley High School earlier this month.
Due to NCAA regulations, Franklin could not speak to Sullivan. So Franklin waved to Sullivan, with racket in hand, and continued to his meeting with Minisink Valley football coach Kevin Gallagher. However, soon enough Sullivan and Franklin will be catching up in Happy Valley.
Sullivan, a long snapper, came one step closer to Penn State by signing his national letter of intent earlier this week. He verbally committed to play for the Nittany Lions in April of this year.
“It was awesome to finally making it official after committing eight months ago,” said Sullivan, who was also recruited by Army, Michigan, Syracuse, Georgia, Alabama and Purdue. “Everyone knew it was happening and I had a lot of support. It was nice. I had my family, the coaching staff, some Board of Education members and the Superintendent (Brian Monahan) there.”
Sullivan is ranked the seventh-best long snapper in the 2019 class by Kohl’s Kicking. He’s traveled across the country competing in kicking camps since he was in Middle School. Penn State special teams coach Phil Galiano, who visited Minisink Valley with Franklin this month, discovered Sullivan through a highlight tape.
Sullivan, a preferred walk-on, hopes to compete for playing time at Penn State as a freshman. He joins a program that has returned to national prominence under Franklin. Penn State (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) will take on Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. A third-straight 10-win season is on the line for Penn State, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1980-82.
Penn State is making a bowl appearance for a fifth consecutive season and 49th time overall, ranking the Nittany Lions tied for ninth all-time in bowl appearances.
“It’s really exciting,” Sullivan said. “I have already become friendly with (Penn State linebacker) Micah Parsons and (wide receiver) KJ Hamler,” Sullivan said. “The class coming in is already like a brotherhood. It’s just a good time. I think we can win a national title in the next four years.”
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