Big Ten

Illini's Mason Monheim among 13 B1G names on Lombardi watch list

mason-monheim-0714.png

Illini's Mason Monheim among 13 B1G names on Lombardi watch list

A lot of guys make the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, and that's because the award's criteria is extremely specific yet extremely inclusive at the same time.

Here it is:

"Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage."

Well, that makes a lot of guys eligible, and that's why there are 145 names on the list, which was released Tuesday.

[MORE BIG TEN: Carli Lloyd and Todd Frazier have turned Rutgers into America's team]

There are 13 Big Ten names scattered across the six pages of college football players:

— Mason Monheim, LB, Illinois
— Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
— Jack Allen, C, Michigan State
— Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
— Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
— Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
— Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
— Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State
— Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
— Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
— Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State
— Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
— Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin

One of those, you'll notice, is Illinois' Mason Monheim. Monheim ranks second among all active FBS players in career tackles, a pretty cool stat. Last season, he recorded a team-leading 111 tackles, as well as 6.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, a sack and four forced fumbles.

The Lombardi Award has gone to a defensive player every year since 1996, when Ohio State offensive lineman Orlando Pace won the second of his consecutive Lombardi Awards. A Big Ten player has earned the honor twice since Pace's back-to-back wins: Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk in 2005 and Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley in 2006. Two pre-Big Ten Nebraska players have also won since Pace's repeat: defensive linemen Grant Wistrom and Ndamukong Suh in 1997 and 2009, respectively.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.