Big Ten

Delton Williams rejoining Michigan State next month

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Delton Williams rejoining Michigan State next month

Michigan State's questionable running back situation got a lot less questionable Monday.

Delton Williams, whose future with the program was murky after he brandished a weapon in March, will return to the team on Aug. 14, head coach Mark Dantonio announced Monday.

“Delton Williams has satisfied the university’s (student conduct system), court’s and football program’s expectations,” Dantonio said in the announcement. “Delton comprehends the severity of the situation and understands that decisions have consequences. He also appreciates the fact that wearing the Michigan State uniform is a privilege and not his right. Provided with various options, he chose to return to Michigan State under specific guidelines in order to complete his education and playing career. Delton looks forward to turning the page to the next chapter in his life by rejoining his teammates and classmates.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten writers pick Buckeyes over Badgers for conference title]

Williams' return is important for an otherwise inexperienced Michigan State rushing attack. Last season's two leading rushers, Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill, departed this offseason, and the pair accounted for more than 70 percent of the Spartans' rushing yards in 2014.

Williams was the team's third leading rusher, with 316 yards and five touchdowns. After him, the list is made up mostly of wide receivers and quarterbacks, showing how important it was for Williams to bring his experience to the backfield.

The Spartans will welcome in four-star running back Larry Scott this fall, and former three-star recruit Gerald Holmes is with the team, as well.

Williams will make his return to the program on Aug. 14, six days after the start of preseason camp on Aug. 8.

[MORE BIG TEN: Living mannequin terrifies Cardale Jones, other Buckeyes]

Williams had a lengthy statement as part of the team's Monday announcement.

“I appreciate the university and coach Dantonio for providing me with the opportunity to return and finish what I started. Being a student-athlete at Michigan State is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. It was a judgment call, but they all decided to provide me with a second chance. I’m truly blessed and grateful for this opportunity.

“I wasn’t looking for a fresh start or the easy way out by transferring to another school. It has been and continues to be a blessing to be a student-athlete here. God has a plan for us all, and I put myself in a tough situation. I dug myself a hole, took the punishment and now it’s time to get back on track.

“My return isn’t just about playing football because I know it isn’t forever. God willing, I might get the opportunity to play in the NFL, but I already have 64 credits and I’m on pace to graduate. As some say, NFL means ‘not for long.’ My degree is my primary plan, not my back-up plan.

“I never intended to put anyone in harm’s way, and I never believed the situation would get out of hand. I’ve learned from my mistake, and I won’t put myself in that type of situation again. I see things much differently now and know that I must think before I act. As a result of my decision, manhood has been thrust upon me. I’ve grown up a lot over the last four months. That decision could have ruined all of my dreams. This situation has certainly brought me closer to God.

“I look forward to rejoining my teammates and working toward a common goal. I can’t wait to get into the locker room and onto the practice field with my teammates and coaches. I’m truly blessed to be a Michigan State Spartan. At the end of the day, I care about my immediate family and my MSU family — that’s what matters most.”

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.