Big Ten

Meyer says recovering Miller, Barrett just about at full strength

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Meyer says recovering Miller, Barrett just about at full strength

No, Ohio State does not yet have a starting quarterback. But there's good news surrounding the competition.

The three-way battle between Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will likely feature all three QBs operating at full health. Head coach Urban Meyer told reporters Wednesday that Miller and Barrett, who are both working their way back from injuries that ended their respective 2014 campaigns, are nearing full strength.

Meyer, his quotes published over at Cleveland.com, said Miller "is pretty close to full speed" and that Barrett is "close to 95 percent."

That's great news for the college football world, almost every eye of which will be on the Buckeyes' quarterback competition beginning next month. It's, of course, also terrific news for the Buckeyes, who will have three full-strength QBs to choose from. Though it might make Meyer's job a bit more difficult.

[MORE BIG TEN: Terps announce three-year contract extension for Randy Edsall]

Miller is returning from a second straight shoulder injury, the latest suffered in training camp days before last season began. The first came in Ohio State's loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl the previous season. Miller was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year before he was knocked out of what was to be his senior season before it started.

Barrett took over and quickly found his footing, engineering a remarkable season as a redshirt freshman, a campaign that saw his team win all but one game and claim a Big Ten East Division championship. Along the way, he broke a whole bunch of program and conference records. He injured his ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan, and though he was knocked out for the postseason, he still earned Big Ten Quarterback of the Year honors and finished fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

Jones' fill-in performance was perhaps just as impressive, if not more so. Taking over for the injured Barrett, he was sensational in three postseason wins: the Big Ten title game over Wisconsin, the Sugar Bowl over Alabama and the College Football Playoff national championship game over Oregon. Jones threw for a combined 742 yards and five touchdowns in those three wins, running for another 90 yards and a touchdown, as he helped guide Ohio State to the eighth national championship in school history.

The Buckeyes figure to be in good hands regardless of who wins the job. All three QBs are viewed not only as capable but excellent, and whoever wins the competition will likely be among the favorites for many of college football's individual awards, including the Heisman Trophy.

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.