Hospital visit stands out to Allegretti
Nick Allegretti has set foot in the Alamodome.
The Illinois recruit from Lincoln-Way East — and his fancy shoes — will get a chance to block defensive lineman, open lanes for running backs and protect his quarterback when the center plays in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday in San Antonio.
Allegretti has checked in all week from his temporary home. Here's the latest from him leading up to the noon kickoff on Saturday:
"I'm wearing yellow shoes with an Illinois logo and another special symbol during Saturday's game. The design was the combination of a symbol to represent Illinois, along with a symbol to represent my high school and my offensive line. The saying is 'WOLOS,' and it stands for We Own The Line Of Scrimmage. It was made up by my offensive line coach at Lincoln-Way East, Jack Eddy.
"Two of the best defensive linemen I've gone up against this week are probably Derrick Nnadi and Matt Elam. They are both studs who are very skilled off the ball and have unbelievable power and footwork.
"The inside of the Alamodome is awesome. It's huge, and it's going to be a blast when it's all filled up with people on Saturday. In terms of how much I'll play on Saturday, I believe it is just going to be a rotation throughout the entire game.
"This experience has, by far, exceeded my expectations as we have been doing a ton of fun stuff, and the kids here are all great and easy to hang out with.
"Visiting the children's hospital is something that stuck out to me and has been my favorite part of the trip so far. It was nice to put a smile on the faces of kids going through some very tough times and to speak with the parents of the children who have the same illness my brother, Joey, had previously been diagnosed with.
"My older brother Joey, who goes to Illinois, had leukemia, but he beat it four years ago. I just tried to let the parents know that my brother is doing great and their kids will be fine.
"We had one practice on Thursday morning, and in the afternoon, I went to a local coin store I found on the River Walk. I am a big history fan and enthusiast, so I enjoyed the store and looking at all the historic buildings of San Antonio. If I'm able to sight-see any more the rest of the trip, it will definitely be along the River Walk because it is such an interesting concept that I had never known about before."