Big Ten

Illini's Wes Lunt compares himself to Tom Brady in interview

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Illini's Wes Lunt compares himself to Tom Brady in interview

Which pro quarterback does Wes Lunt remind you of?

Well, we got his answer to that question Sunday night, and the Illinois signal caller compared himself to Tom Brady.

"I'd like to compare myself to Tom Brady," Lunt said in an interview the Illini posted Sunday. "He's an unbelievable quarterback. I think we have a lot of similar traits just athletically and how we throw the ball. It's exciting to watch. You really get a feel for how good he is when you watch every game in a season."

The Rochester native is entering his second season as the Illini's starting quarterback, though his first season certainly didn't go how he drew it up. Three fourth-quarter comebacks against mediocre non-conference competition were followed by an injury-plagued conference schedule in which Lunt appeared in just three of those games. He was injured against Purdue and only played in three more games the remainder of the season, with the coaching staff opting to go with backup Reilly O'Toole even after Lunt returned to action. O'Toole led the Illini to wins in three of their last five regular-season games and the first bowl appearance of the Tim Beckman Era.

[MORE BIG TEN: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller switching to wide receiver]

This isn't the first time, though, that Lunt has been compared to Brady. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit pulled out the Lunt-Brady comparison last summer leading up to Lunt's first action since transferring in from Oklahoma State.

"Body-type-wise, Tom Brady. He has added weight, weighing about 228 now. He has a calm demeanor until someone screws up. Then he is more forceful. He has a good presence about him," Cubit said last year in an interview with BTN's Tom Dienhart. "I had Trent Edwards at Stanford. I think this kid is a bit ahead of where Trent was when I was there."

Brady is an eyebrow-raising comparison to make, of course, considering the fact that the New England Patriots QB might be the best the NFL has ever seen. He's won four Super Bowls, including the most recent world championship earlier this year.

Lunt has played sporadically during his first two seasons of college football.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini add Reilly O'Toole to coaching staff as grad assistant]

But before Brady was Brady, he was also a Big Ten quarterback. He played at Michigan before becoming one of the NFL's greatest players ever.

Lunt was also asked about what he's incorporated into his game from watching Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning — arguably the three best quarterbacks on the planet.

"I think all three of them do a really good job in pocket presence, just staying in there and being able to slide without moving drastically to get that throw off," Lunt said. "I think that's really important, and that's something I've been working on this offseason, just staying in the pocket, moving my feet just a little bit to get that throw off. So that's probably the main thing that I got from all three of them."

Check out the entire interview right here:

(Video from FightingIllini.com)

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.