Caleb Gilligan-Evans first eyed Yale as his college of choice back in the spring. With a combination of major-college football, an offense well-suited to his talents and a world-class education, the Stepinac senior just had to wait.
That ended Sunday morning when the 6-foot, 250-pound running back gave his oral commitment to the Bulldogs' coaching staff. He was in New Haven, Conn., for an official visit. The school had already accepted him earlier this fall.
"It's definitely something I've been thinking about for a while," he said. "I'm glad it's finally coming through."
The commitment kicked off a memorable final day to the high school career of Stepinac's only four-year starter under coach Mike O'Donnell.
The Yonkers native later returned to play in the CHSFL's Senior Bowl on Long Island and to accept the Monsignor Matthew Peters Award as the league's top student-athlete.
The last Stepinac player to win the Monsignor Peters Award was Tyler Nugent in 2001.
"We knew from the first day we met Caleb that he was a special kid," O'Donnell said. "He was mature and he was smart. He has always done everything you asked the first time. When he started talking about Yale, we were very excited for him."
Gilligan-Evans began his visit Friday. He said the staff and students made him feel comfortable, as if Yale was a place he could excel as a student and an athlete.
"I wanted to go up on a visit to make sure there were no doubts," he said. "This visit got any of those doubts out of my mind."
Even since he was accepted into the school, Gilligan-Evans continued to look at Byrant — the first school to offer him a scholarship — as well as Penn and Columbia.
He expects to play fullback and H-back for Yale, which deploys those positions primarily as blockers and receivers out of the backfield.
Gilligan-Evans rushed for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore and junior at Stepinac. He produced 944 yards and nine touchdowns on 143 offensive touches to help the program reach its first CHSFL AAA title game as a senior.
"I think Caleb found the perfect fit for him," O'Donnell said. "We are excited as a program to become big fans of Yale football."