Big Ten

Mark Dantonio takes to Twitter to criticize stories on ex-Spartans QB Connor Cook

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Mark Dantonio takes to Twitter to criticize stories on ex-Spartans QB Connor Cook

Mark Dantonio surely wasn't happy about Connor Cook's unexpected fall in the NFL Draft. But the Michigan State head coach appears to be even less happy over explanations of why Cook's fall happened.

Dantonio took to Twitter in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to express his displeasure over a story in the Detroit News explaining why Cook plummeted down the draft boards of many teams. Though no specific title or writer was named, a story published Saturday titled "Personality issues caused Connor Cook's fall in draft" seems like the target of Dantonio's tweet.

Dantonio followed up with another Tuesday-morning tweet aimed at the Detroit Free Press. Again, no specific story or writer was mentioned by the coach, but one can assume that a Sunday story titled "Connor Cook could not satisfy NFL teams' questions about leadership" might be the one. It in itself was a follow up to an earlier story by the same writer titled "Connor Cook leaves some teams uneasy in NFL draft."

After a head-scratching fall, Cook was eventually selected in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders, who used the No. 100 pick on a quarterback who at one point looked like one of this draft's top prospects at the position. While Cook's 2015 season with the Spartans wasn't statistically sensational, he still established himself as perhaps the Big Ten's best quarterback and still led his team to a Big Ten championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Cook finished his career at Michigan State, during which he was a three-year starter, with a 35-5 record, something Dantonio pointed out in those tweets.

So what was the big deal? Well, according to that Detroit News story, Cook earned the skepticism of NFL teams with his personality.

The fact that Cook was not elected a team captain back in the fall has been talked to death and probably way overblown considering the Spartans were a senior-laden group with a lot of high-caliber choices for that honor. Center Jack Allen was elected the offensive captain, and in another draft stunner, he wasn't selected at all last weekend.

But the Detroit News story went further, attributing NFL personnel who described Cook as "arrogant" with "an overall attitude issue."

That first Detroit Free Press story quoted one NFL coach saying, "There’s something about him that you just don’t trust him," and another saying, "There’s just something put-offish about him."

You can see why Dantonio would be upset.

But it seems the writers shouldn't be the one drawing Dantonio's ire. While everyone always gets upset when quotes are attributed to anonymous people, that seems to be a more common thing in stories about the NFL Draft than in stories about government corruption. NFL personnel obviously had issues with Cook, whether those were justified or not. If they didn't, Cook would've been selected much earlier. The reporters are reporting on those issues.

So maybe instead of attacking the stories, Dantonio should be going after the NFL front offices that deemed his 35-5 quarterback undraftable.

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.