Big Ten

Big Ten preview: Terps embark on three-way quarterback competition


Big Ten preview: Terps embark on three-way quarterback competition

Believe it or not, C.J. Brown is finally gone from Maryland.

The quarterback was a member of the Terrapin football team for six years. But 2014 was his last campaign, which means that there’ll be a new QB running the Maryland offense this fall.

Who it will be, though, is far from determined.

Like there is happening at numerous Big Ten schools — see Michigan, Northwestern — there’s a much-discussed quarterback competition going on at Maryland. This race features three guys: Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Daxx Garman. And it would appear your guess is as good as anyone's as to which of the three will start the season-opener against Richmond on Sept. 5.

“We’re all great competitors, and that’s great because it will bring out the best game in each of us,” Hills said Monday during the team’s media day. “We’re each going to give 100 percent every time because the position is open for anyone to take like coach (Randy) Edsall said.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Bad news for Spartans as Ed Davis goes down with season-ending knee injury]

Rowe and Hills have been with Maryland for a while now, each starting a handful of games during their careers and each falling victim to the same injury bug that so often bothered Brown. After Brown tore his ACL ahead of the 2012 season, Hills started the team’s first seven games. Then he tore his ACL, forcing Rowe to step in and play in a couple games before he tore his ACL.

Hills redshirted in 2013, and when Brown suffered another injury, Rowe started a couple more games. Last season, more injuries meant more playing time for both Rowe and Hills.

All in all, Rowe has completed 53.7 percent of his career throws for 1,768 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Hills has completed 57 percent of his career passes for 1,422 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Garman, though, might be commanding the most attention after he transferred in from Oklahoma State this offseason. He made eight starts for the Cowboys last season and threw for a total of 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 12 interceptions.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten preview: Will Gophers improve statistically sour passing attack?]

No one has really emerged as a leader yet, with camp just underway. But with all three guys capable of winning the job, the attention this position battle will receive is unlikely to diminish any time soon.

“Everybody starts from the same starting line,” offensive coordinator Mike Lockley said. “Perry has started and won games here. Caleb has started a couple of games here. Daxx has started and played at this level at Oklahoma State. They all are coming from a place where they have had opportunities as a starter, so they all start from the same point and work from there.”

Garman is the man garnering much of that attention, given his newness to the program as well as his claim to the most recent experience among the trio. He’s been around, starting at Arizona before moving to Oklahoma State and now Maryland. But he won his first four career starts and played a big factor in five of the Cowboys’ six wins last season en route to a bowl appearance.

That experience is something Edsall is pretty excited about.

“He's a young man that went to Arizona first and then had the coaching change and then went from Arizona to Oklahoma State. Started games there at Oklahoma State, won games. Very smart. Very cerebral. Throws a very catchable and accurate ball,” Edsall said last month during Big Ten Media Days. “And so he's coming in, and he's challenging Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills for the quarterback job. But the thing that I like about him, he's an experienced young man. He's a young man that won at a very high level. Came from a very good high school program. And somebody that has adapted and fit in very, very well, you know, with our team.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten preview: To reach next level, Gophers need to beat Badgers]

“You only get better from experience, and I valued my time at Oklahoma State,” Garman said Monday. “I’m ready to take that experience and elevate my game to a new level here at Maryland.”

That’s not to say, though, that the other two guys are without experience or that Garman’s is any more valuable than their’s. This race is wide open.

“That is going to be an interesting battle,” Edsall said. “Daxx and Caleb and Perry are going to fight it out, and we will see how it all unfolds. They are all eager and they are all hungry and they all want to be the guy. We’ll see how it goes.”

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.