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Wednesday December 16, 2020 | 5:50 p.m.


His engagement was low-key, but on Wednesday, Deer Lakes senior football star Michael Sullivan announced his collegiate decision with a bang.

After leading the Lancers to their second state championship appearance in three years this season, the WPIAL Class 2A Player of the Year has said he will play for Pitt.

“That’s good. I mean, it’s up to the WPIAL championship win for one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, for sure,” Sullivan said.

“Being able to play at the college level in front of your hometown is something you dream of. Ever since I was little and could think of playing at the next level, Pitt has always been there to be able to play in front of my family, and being able to come to my games is going to be a very important part. Now that I’m able to do it, it’s huge.

Sullivan has won back-to-back Valley News Dispatch Boys Football Player of the Year awards. He led the Lancers to their first WPIAL Class 2A Championship this season with a shootout victory over Shady Side Academy, ending his senior season with 22 goals and 11 assists.

He scored the tying goal in the WPIAL Championship game after the Lancers lost 1-0, and he has also faced doubles and trebles on several occasions this season.

Now Sullivan is heading for one of the best football programs in the country. Pitt has gone 7-1 this season and lost to Clemson, 2-1, in the ACC Championship game. The Panthers held the No. 1 ranking in the country before the loss.

Sullivan said he and Pitt’s assistant coach Rich Constanzo started talking in February. Things picked up recently when he spoke to head coach Jay Vidovich.

“Hearing him talk about the game movie he watched from me before the call and picking out little details that I couldn’t even make out after watching it four or five times,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to be absolutely great playing with someone with that kind of skill, so I can’t wait.”

Sullivan said he realizes playing in the ACC will be a big leap.

“The most important thing they pointed out to me is that I’m going to have to come and work for this,” Sullivan said. “There are no fixed positions in a varsity environment because the coaching staff are trying to put food on their tables, and they’re going to come up with the top 11 that they think can win the games, and that is just going to come down to what I do at camp and what I can do in the preseason and let the work speak for itself.

Greg Macafee is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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