Big Ten

A couple award-winners headline list of B1G undrafted free agents


A couple award-winners headline list of B1G undrafted free agents

Being named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year apparently aren't enough to get you drafted in the seven rounds of the NFL Draft.

But have no fear, as Mike Hull and Kurtis Drummond each found an NFL home despite not being selected over the three-day event this past weekend in Chicago.

Hull, the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and the latest product of Linebacker U at Penn State, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dolphins. Hull had 140 tackles during the 2014 season, also making 10.5 tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with an interception and a forced fumble. Hull's absence on many national linebacker of the year award finalist lists had many scratching their heads.

Drummond, who beat out teammate Trae Waynes for the conference's Defensive Back of Year honors, was signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent. Waynes was the No. 11 overall pick in this year's draft, the second straight year a Michigan State cornerback has been drafted in the first round. But Drummond outdid Waynes on the collegiate field last season, leading the Spartans with 72 tackles and four interceptions.

[MORE BIG TEN: Complete list of Big Ten players selected in NFL Draft]

Hull and Drummond were the conference's biggest names to not get drafted and instead sign as undrafted free agents. But they were hardly the only ones.

Other interesting names included Iowa defensive lineman Louis Trinca-Pasat, the Lane Tech product who ended up signing with the Rams. Another Chicago-area Hawkeye, running back Mark Weisman out of Stevenson High School, signed with the Bengals.

Five Northwestern Wildcats found post-draft homes: Chi Chi Ariguzo signed with the Broncos, Jimmy Hall signed with the Raiders, Tony Jones signed with the Redskins, Brandon Vitabile signed with the Colts, and Kyle Prater, who went to Proviso West, signed with the Browns, who also drafted Northwestern safety Ibraheim Campbell.

Illinois had zero players drafted for the second straight season, though two tight ends, Matt LaCosse (out of Naperville North) and Jon Davis, signed with the Giants and Cowboys, respectively.

[MORE BIG TEN: Huskers' Randy Gregory out to prove doubters wrong after NFL Draft fall]

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner will try to make it as a wide receiver, signing as one with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Both of Purdue's speed-demon running backs found NFL teams: Akeem Hunt signed with the Giants, and Raheem Mostert signed with the Eagles.

Minnesota offensive lineman Zac Epping signed with the Vikings. Wisconsin defensive lineman Warren Herring signed with the Falcons, as did Indiana wide receiver Shane Wynn. Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant signed with the Chargers. Nebraska defensive back Josh Mitchell signed with the Colts. Michigan State linebacker Taiwan Jones signed with the Jets, while Spartans punter Mike Sadler signed with the Buccaneers and Spartans defensive lineman Marcus Rush signed with the 49ers.

[MORE BIG TEN: 2015 could be final year of Big Ten's first-round QB drought]

Here's a complete list of Big Ten players who signed as undrafted free agents (h/t to

Illinois Fighting Illini

Matt LaCosse, TE, Giants
Jon Davis, TE, Cowboys

Indiana Hoosiers

Collin Rahrig, OL, Steelers
Bobby Richardson, DL, Saints
Shane Wynn, WR, Falcons

Iowa Hawkeyes

Quinton Alston, LB, Buccaneers
Ray Hamilton, TE, Cowboys
John Lowdermilk, DB, Chargers
Kevonte Martin-Manley, WR, Browns
Louis Trinca-Pasat, DL, Rams
Mark Weisman, RB, Bengals

Maryland Terrapins

Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, LB, Titans
Cole Farrand, LB, Giants
Deon Long, WR, Titans
Matt Robinson, LB, Jaguars

Michigan Wolverines

Brennen Beyer, DE, Ravens
Devin Gardner, WR, Patriots

Michigan State Spartans

Kurtis Drummond, DB, Texans
Andrew Gleichert, TE, Eagles
Taiwan Jones, LB, Jets
Marcus Rush, DE, 49ers
Mike Sadler, P, Buccaneers

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Cameron Botticelli, DE, Chargers
Zac Epping, OL, Vikings
Isaac Freuchte, WR, Vikings
Derrick Wells, DB, Buccaneers

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Zaire Anderson, LB, Broncos
Jake Cotton, OL, Texans
Josh Mitchell, DB, Colts
Trevor Roach, LB, Bengals

Northwestern Wildcats

Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Chargers
Jimmy Hall, LB, Raiders
Tony Jones, WR, Redskins
Kyle Prater, WR, Browns
Brandon Viatbile, C, Colts

Ohio State Buckeyes

Darryl Baldwin, OL, Ravens
Curtis Grant, LB, Chargers

Penn State Nittany Lions

Deion Barnes, DE, Jets
Bill Belton, RB, Jets
Miles Dieffenbach, C, Steelers
Mike Hull, LB, Dolphins

Purdue Boilermakers

Gabe Holmes, TE, Raiders
Akeem Hunt, RB, Giants
Raheem Mostert, RB, Eagles
Justin Sinz, TE, Colts

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Kaleb Johnson, OL, Ravens
Kevin Snyder, LB, Lions
Andrew Turzilli, WR, Titans

Wisconsin Badgers

Warren Herring, DL, Falcons

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.