Back on National Signing Day, Stepinac High School hosted a ceremony for three seniors: Austin Taps, Prezemyslaw Popek and Jesse Gwin. The school hosted another ceremony Wednesday morning to celebrate its trio of commits growing by two.
Running back Caleb Gilligan-Evans and wide receiver Vincent Narog both officially committed to college today. Gilligan-Evans signed with Holy Cross, Narog with Sacred Heart.
For the 6-foot, 240-pound Gilligan-Evans, it was his second commitment and brought an end to a tumultuous two months. He originally gave a verbal commitment to Yale in January but did not sign a binding letter with the school. The program fired its coach and hired Harvard assistant Tony Reno, who brought in a new offense and far different ideas than his predecessor.
“Yale was still an option, but I just felt it wasn’t going to be a great situation for me,” Gilligan-Evans said. “They kind of gave me a negative feeling about the situation.”
Gilligan-Evans had been recruited by Holy Cross since last year, so the Crusaders were a natural option when he re-opened his recruitment. He visited Holy Cross and Byrant and recently decided that Holy Cross was the best fit.
He will serve as a lead blocker and receiver in a traditional fullback/H-back role similar to what he played at Stepinac, albeit with fewer touches. He has embraced the new destination, and credited the Stepinac coaching staff for keeping him on course through trying times.
“It was very disheartening and it was hard to look positively at it,” he said. “I really credit coach O’D (O’Donnell) and the rest of the coaching staff. They got me focused on moving on and getting attention from other schools immediately. There wasn’t much time to worry, even though it was tough to accept at first.”
Narog, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver, needed patience as well. He had made official visits to Division III Trinity and Division II Southern Connecticut and Stonehill and later narrowed his final choices to SUNY Cortland and Southern Connecticut.
All along, Sacred Heart had been on the periphery. The school began recruiting him two months ago and made two visits to Stepinac. Sacred Heart offered shortly after Narog’s visit there in early February.
He earned a partial scholarship but an opportunity he couldn’t help but pass up. The Yorktown native intends to study physical therapy in college and eventually earn a doctorate.
“Sacred Heart just seemed like a well-rounded fit,” Narog said. “It’s a little bit closer to home than Cortland. They have a renowned (physical therapy) program. That was the whole goal, to get to a good college through football.”