With a long trip from New Haven to Uniondale ahead of him and his family on Sunday morning, Archbishop Stepinac fullback Caleb Gilligan-Evans made the ride much more bearable for himself. The senior committed to Yale University.
"It was a feeling of relief and enjoyment knowing I had just done that," Gilligan-Evans said. "It made me at ease on the trip back."
One of the top backs in New York City, Gilligan-Evans chose the Bulldogs over Bryant on Sunday morning on his official visit to the school.
"I'm very excited and thankful for this opportunity," Gilligan-Evans said.
Gilligan-Evans had been accepted to Yale in October but held off on making his decision because he wanted to play out his senior season.
Last weekend, Gilligan-Evans traveled to Yale to meet the coaching staff and the players and said he had a great time meeting them. He said he was very comfortable on his visit and the staff and players made him feel welcome.
He made his commitment at around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday when he met with the coaches before leaving for the CHSFL awards banquet. He has not decided what he is going to study yet but said he likes business and probably will lean toward marketing.
"The coaches are very passionate about football and they preach to enjoy football while working hard," Gilligan-Evans said. "They have kids on the teams that have fun, it's just not all football, they enjoy their time at college. I can be successful there and it's definitely a place where I can thrive."
Gilligan-Evans believes that he will fit in well with Yale's system as a fullback. He became a more traditional fullback this season for Stepinac, seeing his carries diminish while he became more of a traditional blocker. Gilligan-Evans rushed for 792 yards and nine touchdowns this year, according to maxpreps.com.
"They like to use their fullback a lot in terms of blocking and receiving and they use schemes that I understand," Gilligan-Evans said. "I love the mentality of the coaches, they work hard but like to have fun and enjoy football. That's what I'm all about."
The fullback enjoyed immense success in his time at Stepinac. As a junior, he helped guide the team to the CHSFL Class A championship. This season, he led the team to a 9-3 record and its first-ever appearance in the Class AA title game. Stepinac fell 14-0 in the title game to St. Anthony's.
Gilligan-Evans said he's proud of the way the coaches made the team stay together throughout the year and no one ever turned on each other or pointed fingers at one other. Stepinac lost just three games in his final two seasons.
"It says a lot about the program and the coaching staff," Gilligan-Evans said of his team's success. "After last year, moving up and being able to keep us working hard and still have success and play at a championship level it speaks of coach (Mike) O' Donnell and his staff."
The senior is looking forward to heading to Yale in the near future.
"It's relief and enjoyment," Gilligan-Evans said of his decision. "I made my decision now and there is a lot of excitement. I enjoyed the people and the team so much and I know it's a great choice and I'm excited to go there."