Big Ten

Hold the phone: Urban Meyer says Braxton Miller's position switch isn't a done deal yet

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Hold the phone: Urban Meyer says Braxton Miller's position switch isn't a done deal yet

The college football world went into a tizzy Thursday night over the news that Braxton Miller would be switching from quarterback to wide receiver for the upcoming season, taking himself out of the the much anticipated quarterback competition in Columbus.

But the man running the show is saying not so fast.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer told multiple reporters that Miller's move to H-back — something Miller told Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel was happening — hasn't been signed off on quite yet.

"I haven't made those decisions yet," Meyer told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's a little bit jumping the gun here. Braxton came to see me. He's been talking to me about it (the switch). We've been working at it, but I'm not ready to say exactly how we're going to use him yet."

Miller told Thamel that he hasn't fully recovered from his shoulder injury suffered just days before the start of last season, and his inability to throw at full strength led to him looking for a different way to get on the field, choosing H-back and punt returner. Miller said he's been practicing as a wideout for months and that he asked Meyer not to tell anyone about it.

[MORE BIG TEN: Ohio State's Braxton Miller switching from quarterback to wide receiver]

Miller was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, when he led the Buckeyes to a combined 24-2 record. But after a pair of shoulder injuries — one in the 2014 Orange Bowl and another right before the start of the 2014 season — an injured Miller had to yield to J.T. Barrett, who was sensational as the Buckeyes' regular-season starter. Barrett's own injury in the regular-season finale meant Cardale Jones had to take over for the postseason, and Jones led Ohio State to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon en route to a national championship. If Miller does end up switching positions, Barrett and Jones will compete for the starting quarterback job.

Miller seems as though he's taken himself out of that position battle, though he's not completely giving up quarterbacking, telling Thamel he'll spend 80 percent of his time on training as a receiver and the other 20 percent prepping as a quarterback. Miller wanting to get on the field surely has a lot to do with his career goals to play in the NFL. Prior to his injury, he looked like a surefire draft pick at quarterback. But health and the increased competition at the position could mean he needs to take an alternate route to the pro game, and this could be it.

Meyer said he'll need some time to see Miller and see if this plan is going to work.

"We won't know enough until practice starts how we can use him and what he can do," Meyer told Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises. "I just don't know. He's a great athlete, but he's never caught a pass for us. So we'll know more and we have plenty of time when practice starts."

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.