Illinois Chapter President and offensive lineman Nick Allegretti a leader on and off the field

NICK 1Illinois 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 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.


Western Michigan rallies on the road to win fifth in a row highlights Week 7 Chapter Update

Weekly LeadWestern Michigan scored five second-half touchdowns to storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit on the road to overtake Bowling Green for the its fifth victory in a row after starting 0-2.

The Broncos also improved to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference with the win.

Running backs Jamauri Bogan and LaVante Bellamy, along with a defense that allowed some yards but produced four turnovers, provided the ammunition for the Broncos rally.

Bogan and Bellamy teamed up to rush for 220 of Western Michigan’s 283 yards on the ground. Bellamy chewed up the most yards and Bogan was the finisher for this unstoppable 1-2 punch.

Bellamy had 111 of his season-high 145 yards in the second half when the Broncos put up 199 of their 283 yards on the ground.

Bogan, who finished with 75 yards on 15 carries, scored four of WMU’s six touchdowns for the third four-touchdown performance of his career. The last time he rushed for four TDs in a game was in 2015 when Bogan was named MVP of the Bahamas Bowl.

Western Michigan’s defense forced a pair of fumbles and had two interceptions. Both Bowling Green fumbles that the Broncos recovered were converted into touchdowns.

Catch up with Syracuse Chapter leader Sam Heckel in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: Win No. 1 for the Wildcats at home in 2018 took a monumental comeback, as Northwestern had to rally from 10 points down with 5:41 remaining to force overtime at Ryan Field. QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 99-yard drive in the final 2 minutes to force OT and sophomore kicker Drew Luckenbaugh knocked home a 37-yard FG in extra time to win for the Wildcats. This was the second year in a row Northwestern has defeated Nebraska in overtime.

Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel has best receiving day for a Wildcat since 1980 to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Stony Brook: Sparked by a defense that scored two touchdowns on a 35-yard interception return by TJ Morrison and Shayne Lawless’ 54-yard fumble return, the Seawolves cruised to a road victory at New Hampshire. Sophomore DB Augie Contressa had a career-high 11 tackles, two sacks and forced the fumble that led to Lawless’ return for a touchdown. The two defensive touchdowns staked Stony Brook to a 21-0 lead before the second quarter was 2 minutes old.

Maryland: Terrapins QB Kasim Hill tossed three touchdown passes and RB Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards to power the offense in an easy win over struggling Rutgers. It was the Maryland defense, though, that did the most damage by coming up with five interceptions and allowing only two completions in 17 attempts. The five picks was the most for the Terrapins since they recorded seven interceptions against Duke in 1998.

Colgate: The No. 17 ranked Raiders are undefeated and have a defense that literally can’t be scored on lately. The victory over central New York rival Cornell 31-0 marked the first shutout for Colgate in the series since 1919, and it came in the 100th meeting between the two squads. The Raiders are 6-0 and became the first Patriot League team to post three shutouts in one season. This was also the fifth consecutive game where Colgate’s defense has not surrendered a touchdown. Tyler Castillo capped the day by returning his 11th career interception 58 yards for the final Raiders touchdown.

Fordham: The Rams went on the road and put up a season-high 43 points and 488 yards to subdue Lehigh and claim victory No. 1 for new head coach Joe Conlin. Back-up running back Tyriek Hopkins and Naim Mayfield took over for the injured starters and combined for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

Penn: The Quakers struggled in the red zone, coming away with only 13 points after having first-and-goal five times against Columbia. But thanks to Penn’s defense limiting the Lions to fewer than 300 yards and Ryan Glover’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:55 to play, the Quakers improved to 4-1 overall.

Notre Dame: Trailing visiting Pitt by eight points at halftime, the undefeated Fighting Irish avoided the upset bid by the Panthers when QB Ian Book hooked up with Miles Boykin from 35 yards out with 5:43 to play that capped a 5-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

Princeton: Forced to have Kevin Davidson make his first start at quarterback for the injured John Lovett, the junior had no problems guiding a well-oiled offensive machine. All-Ivy League wideouts Stephen Carlson and Jesper Horsted combined to catch 21 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Brown. The Tigers are 5-0 for the first time in 12 years.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 7 copy

Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel has best receiving day for a Wildcat since 1980 to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week

Nebraska v NorthwesternNorthwestern senior wide receiver Flynn Nagel had a career day for the Wildcats in a wild come-from-behind overtime victory over Nebraska.

The Wildcats trailed the Huskers by 10 points with less than 6 minutes to play and rallied for their first home victory of the season at Ryan Field.

Nagel played a big role in the comeback by finishing with a team leading and career best 12 receptions for 220 yards with a pair of touchdowns to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

The 220 yards by Nagel is the third-highest single-game receiving total in Northwestern history and the most since 1980. He now has also registered at least one reception in 24-straight games.

Northwestern engineered a 99-yard drive in the final 2:02 to force overtime. During that desperation eight-play march, Nagel had three catches that accounted for 52 of the 99 yards.

Wildcats QB Clayton Thorson was dealing all day, as well, by setting career-best numbers in yards (455), completions (41) and attempts (64). His three touchdowns also tied a career-high best.

Previous Uplifting Athletes

Rare Performance of the Week Winners

Week 1: Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 2: William Wicks, Davidson

Week 3: Davidson Wildcats Team

Week 4: Jesper Horsted, Princeton

Week 5: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Week 6: John Lovett, Princeton


Syracuse Chapter President, offensive lineman and rare disease patient featured in latest Beyond The Trophy series

SAM HECKELEach week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

 Name: Sam Heckel

College: Syracuse University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-4, 295 pounds, redshirt sophomore, offensive lineman

High School: Waukesha West in Waukesha, Wisc.

About Heckel: Became a regular along the Orange offensive line in 2017 when he started all 12 games, registered more than 1,000 snaps at guard and center and led Syracuse in knockdown blocks with 41. … A rare disease patient and survivor who has to manage his condition with treatments, Heckel is the President of the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. … Prior to coming to Syracuse he was a two-time All-State selection in Wisconsin and finished as the runner-up for the 2015 Joe Thomas award, presented to Wisconsin’s top high school offensive lineman.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

Heckel: Beating Clemson last year at home and having the crowd rush the field. That was an absolutely breathtaking moment.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

Heckel: I am a survivor of a rare disease. I suffer from congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, which is an extremely rare disease. I understand how under funded research is for these rare diseases. I was supposed to die years ago due to my condition but pulled through. Now that I survived and play college football, I need to give back to those who are in my shoes.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

Heckel: College athletics is a great platform to spread awareness about the rare disease community. The players have the ability to make a substantial difference through sports to help fund and spread awareness. It is truly a heart-warming experience.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

Heckel: Running out of the tunnel has to be one of my favorite parts of the Carrier Dome. Gives me the chills every time. Outside of the game, I enjoy listening to music and praying during my pregame.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

Heckel: Larry Fitzgerald. The Arizona Cardinals vet receiver is the perfect example of a player doing the right things on and off the field.

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

Heckel: Mac Miller. He’s been my favorite artist since I can remember.

What is your favorite road stadium you ever played in and why?

Heckel: Clemson. Between the quality of the stadium and the loudness of the crowd, that atmosphere is what college football should be everywhere.


What is your perfect pizza?

Heckel: Thick crust with olives and green peppers and red pepper flakes

Last 3 songs you added to your playlist?

Heckel: 2009- Mac Miller; Come back to earth- Mac Miller and Penthouse- Wiz Khalifa

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

Heckel: Culvers, always

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

Heckel: Milwaukee Bucks

What is the most used app on your phone?

Heckel: Twitter

No. 1 goal for yourself in 5 years?

Heckel: To be in the NFL


Illinois claims first Big Ten victory since 2016 to highlight Week 6 Chapter Update

WEEK 6 GRAPHICIllinois has already won more games in 2018 than it did all of last year when the Fighting Illini ran past Rutgers by 21 points on the road.

The Illini are now 3-2 overall and the triumph over the Scarlet Knights ended a 13-game losing streak in the Big Ten Conference.

Prior to Saturday, the last conference victory for Illinois came over Michigan State in November of 2016.

The key against Rutgers was a commitment to the ground game that produced a pair of 100-yard rushers and the Illini defense forcing turnovers.

Illinois picked off three passes against Rutgers, including the first pass attempt of the game, and now has 10 interceptions in five games.

Catch up with Stony Brook Chapter leader Marc Nolan in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: The Wildcats ended their three-game slide by improving to 2-0 on the road and knocking Michigan State out of the Top 25 for the second year in a row. QB Clayton Thorson had four total touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) and Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald picked up victory No. 50 in the Big Ten Conference.

Baylor: Kicker Connor Martin had a brutal day for the Bears until it came time to kick the winning field goal. Martin, who had already misfired on three field goals and an extra point, provided Baylor with victory No. 4 this season by nailing a 29-yard field goal in the closing seconds to knock off Kansas State.

Princeton: From the start of the second quarter when it was a 7-7 game, Princeton scored on eight of its next nine drives to run away from Lehigh. The FCS nationally ranked Tigers posted a single-game school record 733 yards of total offense and improved to 4-0 overall.

Princeton Tigers quarterback John Lovett accounts for nearly 400 yards as part of a record setting day to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Davidson: The Wildcats moved to 5-1 overall and won back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2007 by holding on to edge Jacksonville. That same year, 2007, was also the last time Davidson won at least five football games in a season. The Wildcats posted more than 300 yards rushing again and scored six of the first seven times they had the ball.

NC State: Powered by a running game that totaled a season-high 225 yards, the Wolfpack remained unbeaten by jumping out to a 28-3 lead before holding off a late Boston College rally. NC State is 5-0 for the first time since 2002 when Phillip Rivers was the quarterback and the Wolfpack started 9-0.

Western Michigan: Sparked by a defense that produced three sacks, eight tackles for losses and a critical turnover, WMU held on to edge Eastern Michigan on homecoming. The Broncos have won four in a row after starting the season 0-2.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish continue to move up in the polls – now No. 5 in the country – after running away from Virginia Tech in the second half on the road. Notre Dame outscored the Hokies 28-7 the final 30 minutes and is now right in the center of college football playoff discussions.

Colgate: The nationally ranked Raiders cruised to 5-0 overall behind a defense that has not allowed a touchdown in four consecutive games. James Holland Jr. had a pair of touchdowns and QB Grant Breneman threw for a season-high 254 yards to power the Colgate offense.

Clemson: Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Adam Choice each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark on only 10 carries to power a Tigers offense that rolled up 471 yards on the ground – the most under head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers averaged 11.8 yards per carry, breaking the previous school record of 11.2 set in 1903 against Georgia Tech.

Penn: The Quakers coughed up a 24-0 lead, then put together a clinching 8-play, 87-yard drive in the dying minutes to come-from-behind and knock off Sacred Heart on the road. Karekin Brooks rushed for 191 yards on 28 carries to pace a ground game that churned out 364 yards.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 6

Princeton QB John Lovett amasses nearly 400 total yards as part of single-game school record to nab Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week

LOVETTThe Princeton offense continued its assault on the school record books in a win over Lehigh that moved the nationally ranked Tigers to 4-0 overall.

Pulling the trigger and getting the ball to all the weapons the Tigers possess is veteran quarterback John Lovett.

The senior from Wantagh, N.Y. who is in his third season as a starting quarterback piled up nearly 400 yards of offense of his own on a day when Princeton set a single-game school record for total yards.

Lovett threw for 288 yards, rushed for a team-high 111 yards and accounted for four touchdowns to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Lovett accounted for 399 of Princeton’s single-game school record 733 yards of total offense.

In four games Lovett has accounted for nearly 1,350 yards and a staggering 18 touchdowns as the leader of an offense that is averaging 607 yards and 53 points a game.

The 66 points scored against Lehigh matched the most points Princeton has scored in a game since the 1934 season opener when the Tigers drubbed Amherst 75-0. In 1950, Princeton also scored 66 in a victory over Williams.

Previous Uplifting Athletes

Rare Performance of the Week Winners

Week 1: Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 2: William Wicks, Davidson

Week 3: Davidson Wildcats Team

Week 4: Jesper Horsted, Princeton

Week 5: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Notre Dame defense shuts down Stanford as undefeated Fighting Irish highlight Week 5 Chapter Update

ND MC Week 5Undefeated Notre Dame has already handed out a pair of losses to teams ranked inside the top 20 in the country.

The No. 6 ranked Fighting Irish used a rock-solid defensive effort to hand previous No. 7 ranked Stanford its first loss of the season. Notre Dame’s defense limited the Cardinal to 229 total yards on 51 snaps including nine quarterback sacks and five tackles for a loss.

Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tilley ties school record for sacks to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week

Notre Dame’s offense was extremely balanced with QB Ian Book and RB Dexter Williams each having monster games. Book threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns and Williams, in his first start of the season, ripped off 161 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown.

On opening weekend of the season Notre Dame knocked off Michigan and now has a win over Stanford. Those are the only losses for those two teams and each squad remains ranked inside the Top 20 nationally.

Learn more about Notre Dame Chapter Leader Christopher Schilling in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy series.

Clemson: It took overcoming some serious adversity at the quarterback position and two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Tigers to stay undefeated against previously unbeaten Syracuse at home. Travis Etienne rushed for more than 200 yards and scored the winning touchdown inside the final minute to nudge the Tigers past the Orange. Syracuse, which led by two scores with 10 minutes to play, was in search of its second win in a row over Clemson. The Tigers converted a clutch fourth-and-6 during the winning drive to set the table for the final-minute victory.

Stony Brook: In a match-up of Top 20 ranked FCS squads, the Seawolves found themselves down 21-0 to Villanova late in the second quarter before rattling off 29 unanswered points to hold on for a narrow 2-point home victory. Part of the credit goes to the SBU defense that was shredded early but rallied to post 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks. DE John Haggart tied for the team lead in tackles with eight and had three of the 10 TFL’s and two of the sacks.

Saint Francis: The Red Flash scored on all six of its first-half possessions and finished with more than 400 yards of offense in a blowout victory over NCAA Division II West Virginia Wesleyan. Nick Rinella returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown to break the 40-year-old school record of 70 yards set in 1978.

Florida State: Even the Seminoles were surprised the way they pulled out a road victory at Louisville. It took some shaky play calling late in the game by the Cardinals for FSU to have a shot. But they capitalized on it when QB Deondre Francois hit Nyqwan Murray with a 58-yard strike with 1:13 to play that capped a 14-point fourth-quarter rally.

Davidson: The Wildcats won for the first time in 17 tries at Valparaiso with a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Davidson trailed by a point (35-34) late in the fourth quarter before embarking on a 9-play, 75-yard march capped by a James Story 1-yard TD run inside the final minute to win it. .

NC State: For the third straight year the Wolfpack won their ACC opener and moved to 4-0 overall with the home win against Virginia. NC State is now ranked in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Against the Cavaliers, QB Ryan Finley threw for three scores, freshman RB Ricky Person went over 100 yards and DT Larrell Murchison had three sacks.

Colgate: The Raiders are 4-0 and scoring on the Colgate defense is getting more difficult with each passing week. The Raiders posted their second shutout in a row against William and Mary and has gone 12 quarters without allowing a touchdown. Holy Cross was the last team to score a touchdown on Colgate and that TD came midway through the fourth quarter in the season opener – a streak of nearly 187 minutes without surrendering a touchdown.

Western Michigan: For the fourth straight year the Broncos opened MAC play with a come-from-behind victory on the road at Miami. QB Jon Wassink, who threw for 439 yards and five touchdowns, scored on a 2-yard plunge with 2:53 to play to win it. Freshman WR Jayden Reed tied a school record with four TD catches on seven grabs and career-high 137 yards. WMU has won three straight after starting 0-2 with losses to Syracuse and Michigan, a couple of 4-1 squads.

Princeton: The Tigers rushed for 360 yards and scored 25 points in a 6:32 stretch midway through the game to stay unbeaten and claim their Ivy League opener. The No. 23 ranked Tigers used 311 total yards from QB John Lovett to subdue Columbia, whose rush defense had been strong the first two weeks, by five touchdowns on National TV.