Big Ten

Michigan's Jabrill Peppers loads up on hardware on first night of Big Ten awards

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USA TODAY

Michigan's Jabrill Peppers loads up on hardware on first night of Big Ten awards

Jabrill Peppers better start making some room on his mantle.

Michigan's all-around star was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year when the conference announced the first half of its year-end awards on Tuesday night.

Peppers, who was one of the Big Ten's best defensive backs a season ago before moving to linebacker this season, ranked third on the Wolverines' sensational defense with 72 total tackles. He had a team-high 16 tackles for loss (third in the Big Ten) to go along with four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.

And that's just on defense. Peppers' versatility has been his trademark, and he also racked up 751 all-purpose yards: 310 via the punt return, 260 via the kick return, 167 rushing, 11 on an interception return and three receiving yards.

Peppers is the first Michigan player to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year since 2006, when LaMarr Woodley won. He's the first Michigan player to win Linebacker of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year honors.

In addition to Peppers taking home all that hardware, several other Big Ten awards were handed out Tuesday.

Teammate Jourdan Lewis was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year. Lewis played in just nine of the Wolverines' 12 regular-season games but finished with 23 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.

Ohio State's Tyquan Lewis was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He ended the regular season with 27 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, the second most in the Big Ten.

Another Buckeye took home an award, Cameron Johnston named the Big Ten Punter of the Year. He led the Big Ten with a 46.2-yard average.

Minnesota's Emmit Carpenter was the Big Ten Kicker of the Year. He led the conference with 91.3 percent of his field-goal tries made, hitting 21 of his 23 attempts.

The Big Ten also announced the All-Big Ten selections on the defensive side and on special teams.

All-Big Ten First Team

Defensive line

Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State (coaches and media)
Taco Charlton, Michigan (coaches and media)
​Jaleel Johnson, Iowa (coaches)
Chris Wormley, Michigan (coaches)
Carroll Phillips, Illinois (media)
Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern (media)

Linebackers

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (coaches and media)
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State (coaches and media)
T.J. Watt, Wisconsin (coaches and media)

Defensive backs

Desmond King, Iowa (coaches and media)
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan (coaches and media)
Malik Hooker, Ohio State (coaches and media)
Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State (coaches)
Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin (media)

Kicker, punter and return specialist

Tyler Davis, Penn State (coaches)
Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota (media)
Cameron Johnston, Ohio State (coaches and media)
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (coaches and media)

All-Big Ten Second Team

Defensive line

Ryan Glasgow, Michigan (coaches and media)
Malik McDowell, Michigan State (coaches and media)
Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern (coaches)
Garrett Sickels, Penn State (coaches)
Jaleel Johnson, Iowa (media)
Chris Wormley, Michigan (media)

Linebackers

Josey Jewell, Iowa (coaches and media)
Anthony Walker, Jr., Northwestern (coaches)
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin (coaches)
Tegray Scales, Indiana (media)
Ben Gideon, Michigan (media)

Defensive backs

Channing Stribling, Michigan (coaches and media)
Delano Hill, Michigan (coaches)
Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern (coaches)
Gareon Conley, Ohio State (coaches)
Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin (coaches)
Rashard Fant, Indiana (media)
Nathan Gerry, Nebraska (media)
Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State (media)

Kicker, punter and return specilist

Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota (coaches)
Tyler Davis, Penn State (media)
Kenny Allen, Michigan (coaches and media)
Desmond King, Iowa (coaches and media)

All-Big Ten Third Team

Defensive line

Dawuane Smoot, Illinois (coaches and media)
Steven Richardson, Minnesota (coaches and media)
Evan Schwan, Penn State (coaches and media)
Conor Sheehy, Wisconsin (coaches)
Garrett Sickels, Penn State (media)

Linebackers

Riley Bullough, Michigan State (coaches and media)
​Tegray Scales, Indiana (coaches)
Ben Gideon, Michigan (coaches)
Jason Cabinda, Penn State (coaches)
Anthony Walker, Jr., Northwestern (media)
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin (media)

Defensive backs

Rashard Fant, Indiana (coaches)
Nathan Gerry, Nebraska (coaches)
Marcus Allen, Penn State (coaches)
Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern (media)
Gareon Conley, Ohio State (media)
D'Cota Dixon, Wisconsin (media)
Leo Musso, Wisconsin (media)​

Kicker, punter and return specialist

Tyler Durbin, Ohio State (coaches and media)
Ron Coluzzi, Iowa (coaches and media)
Parris Campbell, Ohio State (coaches)
Solomon Vault, Northwestern (media)

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.