Big Ten

Five-star guard Josh Langford is Spartans' latest recruiting splash

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Five-star guard Josh Langford is Spartans' latest recruiting splash

Tom Izzo and the Spartans won big again on the recruiting trail Monday, beating out a host of other top-flight programs for five-star guard Josh Langford, the No. 17 player in the Class of 2016, per Rivals.

Langford — who, yes, is related to former Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford — is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound shooting guard from Alabama.

While he might not completely make up for the decommitment of Caleb Swanigan — the five-star big man from Indiana who committed to Michigan State earlier this spring, only to then decommit and head to Purdue instead — Langford is quite the get. Izzo beat out the likes of Sean Miller (Arizona), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bill Self (Kansas), John Calipari (Kentucky) and John Beilein (Michigan) to sign Langford up for Michigan State.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini's Rayvonte Rice works out for Bulls ahead of NBA Draft]

"I felt like the family atmosphere was unbelievable," Langford told 247 Sports. "Everyone comes back. It's just one big family, and it's like once you are a Spartan, you're a Spartan for life. Also it's a plus that coach Izzo is a future Hall of Fame coach. And the system fits me. The whole program fits me. I think I'll develop on and off the court."

"They say they want to use me in a Denzel Valentine/Gary Harris type of way," Langford said. "I'll be able to utilize my playmaking skills. I can truly score from all three levels now, and I'll be able to do that there. And defensively I think I have a lot of upside. I just need to be pushed, and coach Izzo will do that."

Izzo now has a two-man recruiting class for 2016: Langford and Ohio power forward Nick Ward.

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.