Big Ten

Desmond King returning to Hawkeyes for senior season

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Desmond King returning to Hawkeyes for senior season

The Jim Thorpe Award winner is coming back for another season.

Iowa cornerback Desmond King will be back with the Hawkeyes for his senior season, King's mother told The Daily Iowan on Monday.

“We have unfinished business,” King's mother, Yvette Powell, told The Daily Iowan's Danny Payne. “He didn’t want to leave C.J. (Beathard, Iowa quarterback) like that. We talked to C.J., and he was happy. I told him it’s time for you guys to lead your team and to see them on graduation day.

“That’s a beautiful thing. They want to stick together; that’s what it’s all about.”

King won the Thorpe Award this season as the nation's top defensive back and was also honored as the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and a member of the All-Big Ten First Team.

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King led the conference and ranked second in the country with eight interceptions and was third in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation with 21 passes defended.

King was a big part of the Hawkeyes' undefeated regular season, the winningest campaign in program history. But things ended poorly for Iowa, with a narrow loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and a blowout loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Powell told Payne that King wanted to go out a winner, not after a loss.

“He said he wants to go out in a good way and not in the way where he came from a loss,” Powell told Payne. “He wants to win. … He came to me and said everything I was hoping.

“Everybody’s surprised. It’s not about the money all the time. The money is going to be there. He has more chance to make more with a degree.”

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.