Counting Down the Days

After dabbling with a discus, Nick Allegretti is ready for the transition from high school to college.

FRANKFORT, Ill. - Things are about to change for Nick Allegretti.

He's headed to Illinois on June 15, reporting with the rest of the incoming football players to take the next step in both athletic and academic endeavors.

Change isn't always easy. Allegretti is ready for the challenge.

"I just want to be there," he said of Champaign. "I've been committed since last February. It's something i've looked forward to for a long time. It's kind of almost surreal that it's almost here now and I'm done with high school. It's weird that it's here because I'd been looking forward to high school my whole life and now that's over. It's a weird feeling but exciting."

The time is almost here. Allegretti is making the transition after Illinois enjoyed an offensive resurgence in 2013. It's easy to forget that when Allegretti originally committed, nothing was a given. Bill Cubit was new as a coordinator. And the Illini were coming off a season with only two wins.

Allegretti stuck his neck out, a move he feels he's been rewarded for. The offense was dynamic last season and the recruiting of late has picked up.

"It's pretty cool because I bought into the program from the day I committed," he said. "Since I committed everything has gotten better and better. It makes the choice look even better every single day."

So what's Allegretti been up to since his high school career ended in the state playoffs last November? First came wrestling, a sport Allegretti is just as competitive in as football.

There was an important benefit from work on the mats.

"Illinois wants me at 285 (pounds) and that's what I had to be at for wrestling," Allegretti said. "I'm at 290 right now. So wrestling helped me get down and maintain where I need to be at. I'm still working on my body composition."

Wrestling ended in early March, leaving Allegretti with free time on his hands. He used those hands to pick up and throw a discus, something he hadn't done since his middle school days.

No training, little technique, all ambition. Of course, Allegretti ended up all conference and qualified for state.

"I wanted to place but didn't end up throwing so well at state," he said.

Track and field, Allegretti says, was a fun way to close his high school sporting career. Now he's focused on football once again. Well, almost. A family vacation is the last thing on the schedule before reporting to Illinois.

Allegretti is staying in the moment, but he's counting down the days until he gets to Champaign.

"I can't wait. It's going to be a blast," Allegretti said. "I know it's going to be hard, classes are going to be hard and everything but it's going to be great experience."

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