Big Ten

Most Likely to succeed? Terps DB lands on another preseason watch list

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Most Likely to succeed? Terps DB lands on another preseason watch list

Maryland's Will Likely is getting a lot of attention this preseason.

With his inclusion on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award on Monday, Likely has now seen his name on four different preseason award watch lists.

The Terps defensive back/return man was also named to watch lists for the Paul Hornung, Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards.

Last season, Likely ranked fourth on the Terps with 83 tackles. He also recorded four tackles for loss, a sack and a whopping six interceptions, two of which were taken back for touchdowns. His six picks led the conference.

[MORE BIG TEN: Terps' Brad Craddock looks for repeat as Groza, Guy watch lists released]

As a return man, he scored a pair of touchdowns, one via the kick and one via the punt. He posted 891 return yards on kick returns, punt returns and interception returns and had the best kick-return average in the Big Ten.

Joining Likely on the Thorpe Award watch list were two other Big Ten defensive backs: Ohio State's Vonn Bell and Wisconsin's Michael Caputo.

The Thorpe Award is handed out annually to the nation's best defensive back. A Big Ten player won just two years ago, when Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard took home the honor. Six Big Ten players have won the award since it's been handed out, beginning in 1986.

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.