Big Ten

Big Ten still without first-round quarterback in NFL Draft since 1995

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Big Ten still without first-round quarterback in NFL Draft since 1995

The Big Ten’s long, regional nightmare marches on.

With no signal callers taken Thursday night, the Big Ten still hasn't seen a quarterback chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1995.

The conference's drought extended to 21 years when the first round came and went with Michigan State's Connor Cook and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, among others, still remaining on the board.

The last Big Ten quarterback to hear his name called in the first round was Kerry Collins, who was drafted out of Penn State way back in 1995.

Since, 26 Big Ten quarterbacks have been picked, just not in the first round. The skid came close to ending in 2001, when Purdue’s Drew Brees was the first pick of the second round at No. 32, a pick that would be in the first round today given there are now 32 NFL teams.

After Brees, though, the Big Ten went without a quarterback selected higher than the fourth round until 2007, the first of back-to-back years in which a conference quarterback was picked in the second round: Michigan State’s Drew Stanton in 2007 and Michigan’s Chad Henne in 2008.

Between 2009 and 2015, just six Big Ten quarterbacks were drafted: Purdue’s Curtis Painter (sixth round, 2009), Northwestern’s Mike Kafka (fourth round, 2010), Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi (fifth round, 2011), Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson (third round, 2012), Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (fourth round, 2012) and Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian (seventh round, 2015).

Cook and Hackenberg could both be selected on Day 2, and Ohio State's Cardale Jones and Indiana's Nate Sudfeld could also be picked before this year's draft is over.

Here is the complete list of Big Ten quarterbacks selected from 1995 to the present.

— Kerry Collins, Penn State (first round, 1995)
— Tony Banks, Michigan State (second round, 1996)
— Bobby Hoying, Ohio State (third round, 1996)
— Wally Richardson, Penn State (seventh round, 1997)
— Brian Griese, Michigan (third round, 1998)
— Joe Germaine, Ohio State (fourth round, 1999)
— Tom Brady, Michigan (sixth round, 2000)
— Drew Brees, Purdue (second round, 2001)
— Kurt Kittner, Illinois (fifth round, 2002)
— Steve Bellisari, Ohio State (sixth round, 2002)
— Drew Henson, Michigan (sixth round, 2003)
— Brooks Bollinger, Wisconsin (sixth round, 2003)
— Gibran Hamdan, Indiana (seventh round, 2003)
— Craig Krenzel, Ohio State (fifth round, 2004)
— Jim Sorgi, Wisconsin (sixth round, 2004)
— Jeff Smoker, Michigan State (sixth round, 2004)
— John Navarre, Michigan (seventh round, 2004)
— Kyle Orton, Purdue (fourth round, 2005)
— Drew Stanton, Michigan State (second round, 2007)
— Troy Smith, Ohio State (fifth round, 2007)
— Chad Henne, Michigan (second round, 2008)
— Curtis Painter, Purdue (sixth round, 2009)
— Mike Kafka, Northwestern (fourth round, 2010)
— Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (fifth round, 2011)
— Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (third round, 2012)
— Kirk Cousins, Michigan State (fourth round, 2012)
— Trevor Siemian, Northwestern (seventh round, 2015)

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

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.