Big Ten

At both receiver and safety, Tanner McEvoy a two-way starter for Badgers

tanner-mcevoy-0915.png

At both receiver and safety, Tanner McEvoy a two-way starter for Badgers

Tanner McEvoy does it all for Wisconsin.

McEvoy started last season's Week 1 matchup with LSU at quarterback. He's started the first two games this season at wide receiver. He'll start this week's game against Troy at both wide receiver and free safety.

Anything else we can find for McEvoy to do Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium? Kicker? Athletic trainer? Play-by-play announcer? Sousaphone player? Hot dog vendor? Bucky?

Yes, McEvoy is the Big Ten's latest two-way player. Now, he's officially a two-way starter, listed at No. 1 on this week's depth chart at both wide receiver and free safety.

[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern faces important challenge against Duke]

And it's safe to say he earned it after last week's win over Miami (Ohio), where he played a big role in the 58-0 throttling, catching two passes, registering one rushing attempt and intercepting a pass and returning it 41 yards to set up a touchdown that put the Badgers up, 27-0.

The New Jersey native has been around and done a lot.

He started his college career at South Carolina, redshirting during the 2011 season before transferring to junior college in Arizona. After one season there as a quarterback, he transferred to Wisconsin, playing safety in 11 games with three starts as a redshirt sophomore. Last season, he moved back to quarterback and edged incumbent starter Joel Stave for the starting job to open the season. He started the season's first five games before Wisconsin switched back to Stave, but McEvoy then moved back to safety for the bowl game, recording five tackles in the win over Auburn. Now he's at safety again, as well as wide receiver.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten Power Rankings: Spartans score season's most impressive win]

What makes McEvoy capable of doing it all at such a high level?

“I think just in being around him, his football IQ, his awareness of the game, that was pretty evident early," head coach Paul Chryst said during his weekly press conference Monday. "Then athletically, I think he's a pretty unique athlete, big, skilled guy, and you know, wasn't quite sure how physically it would all go. But I thought last week during the week, and he had a great week of practice, and you know, I think we had a good plan for him. I think there's some things we'll continue to tweak. I'm not saying we've perfected it. But he bought into it. And that's when you knew that he had a chance to be real. And he played 73 snaps, didn't play a ton in the fourth quarter, if any. So I don't know if we have got a better idea but we don't have an accurate gauge yet, and I think each game will probably be a little bit different.

"I think kind of who he is, his competitiveness, his football intelligence, he's pretty suited for being able to do it, and I think he cares about this team. One of those guys that really wants to do whatever he can to help the team win, and I admire that a lot.”

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

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.