Jackson Stallings sat front and center in the Southmoore gym Wednesday afternoon and soaked everything in.
Stallings didn't sign the same National Letter of Intent as some of the other SaberCats athletes at the ceremony, but the event still meant plenty.
Stallings is heading to Yale, having picked the Bulldogs over a handful of Ivy League schools including archrival Harvard.
Yale, as a member of the Ivy League, does not award athletic scholarships or participate in the National Letter of Intent program.
But going to Yale is about much more than just football.
“I'm definitely relieved and definitely hopeful,” Stallings said. “I'm looking forward to all of the opportunities that Yale has to offer, not only athletically, but also academically and internship-wise. I'm just excited and hopeful for what's ahead.”
One of the large group of onlookers Wednesday was Southmoore senior principal Julia Black.
College seemed a long ways off in 2009 when then-freshman Stallings had a talk with Black.
“She said that was her hope for me, that I would have that opportunity to go to an Ivy League school,” Stallings said. “To have people that have been so invested in me here at Southmoore and giving me an opportunity to work hard to reach a place like Yale really means a lot.
“It was definitely something that I looked forward to early on.”
Black said it was easy to spot the potential in Stallings early on.