GAINESVILLE -- Florida Gators incoming freshman Stephen Alli of Andover (N.H). Proctor Academy has been cleared to participate in intercollegiate athletics and will likely join the Gators' other incoming freshmen at 4:35 p.m. on Thursday for UF's afternoon practice, The Miami Herald has learned. Alli arrived in Florida on Wednesday morning from his home in Toronto.
Alli, a 6-5 receiver, was originally considered a UF commitment for the class of 2010 but, according to Proctor Academy athletic director Grogan Makechnie, Alli repeated his junior year of high school, which allowed him to accumulate enough credits to graduate a year early.
Alli attended three years of high school in Toronto before transferring to Proctor Academy last year. He repeated his junior year at Proctor Academy "to showcase his athletic ability," according to Makechnie. Apparently, it only took one year to get noticed by the Gators' coaching staff.
According to Makechnie, Alli attended Florida's high school football camp in June and was offered a football scholarship after the camp. Alli committed to the Gators and began the process of preparing to graduate a semester early from Proctor Academy in order to enroll at UF in January of 2010.
After meeting with his guidance counselor, Alli learned he already had enough credits to graduate. According to Makechnie, Alli was a "straight-'A' student" at Proctor Academy. Makechnie said that Proctor Academy initially didn't like the idea of Alli graduating early but later honored Alli's wishes and awarded him a diploma.
"At first we told him that it wasn't possible but it's hard to tell a kid not to pursue a dream," Makechnie said. "He's really a unique example of what you want in a student. He was a leader in every way on our campus."
Makechnie, who doubles as Proctor Academy's basketball coach, said Alli was initially a basketball player at Proctor Academy but was urged to try football.