On and off field, Palella's winning big at Bartlett
For all his athletic accolades and success, which includes playing three sports at Bartlett and a football scholarship to Central Michigan, Alec Palella might be most proud of his academic honors.
Palella, a senior, is a two-time academic all-state selection and a regular member of the Upstate Eight's all-conference teams. He's improved from getting As and Bs his first two years in high school to As in every subject except one as a senior.
He credits his parents Mike and Laura and also his older siblings.
"I would like to thank my parents because they are always on top of me," Palella said. "Their biggest thing is academics, academics, academics. Academics always comes before sports which is how it should be. My brother and sister were good students, and they are the biggest reason I have the grades. They really push me to be the student-athlete I can be."
Palella plans on a business major at Central Michigan with physical therapy as his backup plan.
The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Palella has played all over the football field at Bartlett. His coach Matt Erlenbaugh called him "very versatile."
He'll play tight end at Central Michigan, a school he selected over runner-up Ball State.
"I started to grow my relationship with the tight end coach and head coach and some of the players on the team," Palella said. "I think that started to secure my decision."
Palella said it wasn't until his freshman season at Bartlett that he began to think of playing Division I football. He was pulled up to the varsity as a sophomore, and he said he began to take football even more seriously going to speed training and various camps.
Also as a sophomore, Palella slimmed down and moved from right tackle to tight end. Defensively he has seen time everywhere from strong safety to middle linebacker to defensive end.
During his junior year Palella finished with 81 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. He also caught 8 passes for 192 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Palella also has played baseball and basketball at Bartlett. Right now, his senior basketball season is on hold, and if it gets pushed back into the spring he will miss it while getting back on the football field.
Palella said he's been getting his quarterback and wide receivers together a couple times a week to keep their route running sharp. He and a few friends also work out each morning at 6:30.
"That's how I've been staying in a football mindset," Palella said. "It's definitely frustrating but all you can really do is keep your head up and hope for the best. A lot of people don't get this opportunity to play college football. I'm definitely grateful for it and it gives me motivation to keep working and keep my head up."