Big Ten

Michigan embracing shot of energy Harbaugh has brought to campus

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Michigan embracing shot of energy Harbaugh has brought to campus

It was hard to miss where Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was at Big Ten Media Day.

Whether it was the enormous media scrums surrounding him or the show he put on in the morning with his Mike Ditka jersey or even the cameras on tripods waiting at his podium way before he even arrived, Harbaugh has reached celebrity status even without his signature khakis. 

But when asked about all the attention he’s getting from everyone since coming back to Ann Arbor, Harbaugh put up his blinders.

“I hadn’t seen any circus surrounding this,” he said with a smile.

Harbaugh’s jump back into the collegiate ranks has been the buzz of the Big Ten this offseason. And that’s especially impressive considering the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes haven’t gone anywhere.

[RELATED: Jim Harbaugh brings Mike Ditka jersey to B1G media day]

Some of his players have certainly noticed the effects of Harbaugh’s rock star fame. 

“When he first took the job and was here in January, I didn’t know how much of a celebrity he really was as far as, like, he was on ‘Saved by the Bell’ and things like that,” senior linebacker James Ross III said.  “Now knowing him, I can expect that, but in the beginning I didn’t really know and it kind of overwhelmed me a bit. But once I got used it to, I know that he does that but he’s not a guy who thrives on it. He doesn’t have to have that. He’s a funny guy so people want to talk to it, and I understand that.”

To most around the country, there seems to be a new energy and excitement at Schembechler Hall. But to senior linebacker Joe Bolden, nothing has changed about the Wolverines since Harbaugh’s arrival.  

“It’s the same place,” Bolden said. “It’s Michigan. Nothing will ever change and make it anything less. We got a new coach. We got a little bit new feeling. But other than that, when it comes down to it, you play football on a football field. The dimensions of that football field don’t change whether it’s Coach Hoke, Coach Harbaugh, Coach Carr, Coach Schembechler. They don’t change. At the end of the day it’s football.”

[MEDIA DAY: Check out CSN's complete coverage of B1G media day]

One of Harbaugh’s best qualities that Wolverine players have been raving about is his honesty and transparency. Guys like senior wide receiver Jehu Chesson have admired the ability to have man-to-man conversations with their new coach about their spot on the team.  

“If you go up to him for the truth and where you stand in the program, he’s going to give it to you,” Chesson said. “He’s not going to shy back because at Michigan there’s an expectation and you need to know where you stand day in and day out.”

Harbaugh has been through everything coaching football has to offer from the Super Bowl to the Orange Bowl. Presently, he isn't ready to slap any kind of predictions on the 2015 Wolverines, especially when he doesn't even know who his starting quarterback is going to be just yet. Yet there's something different about the start of this season for Harbaugh compared to any other before. Maybe it's the return home to Ann Arbor or the veteran team he's coaching but expect the vibrant coach to be bouncing along the sidelines this fall. 

"I’m excited as I’ve ever been for the start of a season," Harbaugh said. "This goes back now to the time when I was nine years old. 1972, 1973 was my first time playing football and starting a season. I’m more excited than I’ve ever been."

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.