Illinois football senior offensive lineman Nick Allegretti is the President of Illinois Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. This story, authored by Logan Hanson, is being re-posted courtesy of FightingIllini.com with permission.
Champaign, Ill. – There has been one common trait for the offensive line for the past three seasons for the Illini, number 53 in the trenches. For the 30th straight game, senior offensive lineman Nick Allegretti lined up for the Illini. Allegretti’s experience is respected by the Illini who named the veteran a team captain for the 2017 and 2018 seasons and his leadership has helped strengthen the Illini offensive line.
Perhaps more impressive than Allegretti’s on-field prowess is his off the field kindness. Allegretti, a 2017 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honoree, was recently nominated for the Senior CLASS Award as well as named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy.
The Senior CLASS Award honors student-athletes with notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Community, Classroom, Character and Competition. The Campbell Trophy is given to a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility who has a GPA of at least a 3.2, have outstanding football ability as a starter or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
For Allegretti this was not an individual effort, but a collection of lessons and knowledge learned from his family.
“I’ve got to give all that credit to my family,” said Allegretti, “I was raised the right way, my parents whatever they did they emphasized giving back to the community, serving others, taking advantage of the opportunity you have to give back to those who are less fortunate.”
Allegretti has certainly been able to give back to the community. As a member of the Illini, Allegretti serves as the president of the Illinois Uplifting Athletes chapter which raises money for rare disease research and treatment and is the “Lift For Life” organizer which has raised over $88,000 for charity in the last two seasons. But Allegretti has a favorite of his charitable exploits: volunteering for the Tom Jones Challenger Baseball League (TJCL). TJCL, which practices and plays in Urbana, is a baseball league that helps children with varying degrees of physical and mental challenges to be able to play a sport by providing a safe environment for the kids.
“I worked with them since the first summer I got on campus. I just immediately gravitated towards the kids there,” said Allegretti about TJCL,”The players are incredible. They are all Champaign community kids, families that love Illini. They are just so grateful for you to be out there and when you take a step back and realize that you doing something so simple had such a large impact, it just makes it easy to go out there and help them. Working with that organization has been really special.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in accountancy in December, Allegretti wants to leave his mark on a community that he has called home for four years. It all comes back to leaving the community better than when he first arrived for Allegretti and giving back to those who love the University so much.
“When I leave this school I obviously want to leave it better than I found it,” said Allegretti,”I want to leave it with a program with a good offense, a good program, a winning team and then have the players see what it’s like to have an impact on the community. This community cares a ton about us as a team, they support us a ton, so take an hour out of your day occasionally and go volunteer in the community it means a lot.”
Allegretti wants his impact to have an effect both on the community and the other members of his team. With his final campaign halfway over, Allegretti has a message for those players both coming up in the program and in the future.
“Use your platform,” said Allegretti, “You don’t understand how large your platform is and how effective you can be when you’re a Big Ten football player. We’re in a small town community and you have an incredible platform to help people, so use your platform and just give back to those people who have supported you during your career.”
The Illini offensive line will certainly miss having number fifty-three on their side next season, but the Champaign-Urbana community may miss Allegretti even more so. With four years of service to the community, Allegretti’s charity will not be forgotten.