"All the things I was afraid would go wrong didn't happen," says Sullivan, a communications major who expects to graduate in December 1988. "Things like the other players resenting me, not having fun, coaches not being able to relate to me, worrying about where I'd played. I got here and it didn't matter that it was Division III. It didn't matter that it was John Carroll and not Ohio State. It didn't matter that I was older. I had nothing against me except that I couldn't earn a living for one year. But if I can play one more year of football, well, I can afford that."
In John Carroll's first six games, Sullivan has terrorized enemy offenses with 65 tackles as the Blue Streaks have gone 3-3. "He beats me up all week in practice," says John Carroll center Shawn Robertson, "and then on Saturdays I stand on the sideline and feel sorry for the other team's center." Says DeCarlo, "The difference this time is that he came back first for his degree. Football is only secondary, and he's having a lot of fun."
After John Carroll's opening game against Duquesne, in which Sullivan pounced on a fumble in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown in the last four minutes, other teams began trying to stop him with two and three blockers, who have not only held him but also, in desperation, have resorted to tackling him. By halftime of a 40-0 win over Thiel four weeks ago, Sullivan's jersey had been ripped to threads.
"Nobody's giving me anything," Sullivan says. "Nobody's stepping aside for me, and if they ever do, I'll stop and clean their clocks. I don't like that stuff. If someone doesn't want to hit you, you just want to hit them harder. But these guys all come to play. They may not be as big or as fast or as strong as some I've played against, but they don't give away anything. They play this game the way it is supposed to be played. I've never had so much fun in my whole life."