Husker safety Eli Sullivan 'prided himself on being the guy that no one knows.'

Eli Sullivan put in most of his work behind the scenes for three years. In some ways, that's just how he liked it.

LINCOLN — Eli Sullivan put in most of his work behind the scenes for three years. In some ways, that's just how he liked it.

But after recording four tackles in 19 snaps Saturday, the Nebraska junior walk-on safety admitted his incognito days might be over.

"I've always kind of prided myself on being the guy that no one knows because that's kind of fun," Sullivan said. "It's kind of weird doing an interview like this. Now everyone's gonna know."

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from Longmont, Colorado, tells his story succinctly. He took a visit to Nebraska, noticed how "every single person here has a heart of gold" and wanted to see how far he could go with major college football. He got into a handful of games the last two years, mostly on special teams, while looking for his niche.

Among teammates, Sullivan has carved out a reputation as someone who is as prepared as possible when he steps on the field. He knows every position at special teams — even kick returner, though he jokes he won't be there anytime soon. At safety, he studies every if-then scenario depending on which offensive player may motion.

"It goes all the way down to knowing which hand the lineman on that side of the play has on the ground," Sullivan said. "If it was that specific, I'd want to know it."

Sullivan made three tackles in a condensed period early in the third quarter, getting a chance after Deontai Williams had left the game with an injury. The last two resulted in no gain for South Alabama on short passes in the flat that Sullivan read and closed on quickly. He also appeared on punt return and both kickoff units.

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Better than the stops, though, was knowing he was validating the trust his teammates and coaches have in him.

"It just feels good to see a smile on their faces, to see that confidence in me," Sullivan said.

Safety Eric Lee, a senior, compared Sullivan to a coach on the field. Sometimes he'll debate with Husker assistants about strategy and what NU could do in a given situation.

"He's definitely extraordinarily smart," Lee said. "He's also just a physical, tough guy more than capable of playing safety just like the rest of us out there."