Big Ten

Penn State's Carl Nassib leads five Big Ten players on AP All-America Team

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Penn State's Carl Nassib leads five Big Ten players on AP All-America Team

The Big Ten landed five players on the Associated Press' All-America Team when the roster was announced Sunday afternoon.

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Carl Nassib was among the selections from the conference, the Nittany Lions' defensive end joined by Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, Michigan State center Jack Allen, Iowa cornerback Desmond King and Ohio State safety Vonn Bell.

Nassib led the country with 15.5 sacks this season, the former walk-on winning the Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman or linebacker. He finished with 46 tackles, 19.5 of them going for a loss, forcing six fumbles and coming down with an interception.

King was another one of the Big Ten's brightest defensive stars, earning the conference's Defensive Back of the Year award as well as the Jim Thorpe Award as the country's top defensive back. King was second in the country with eight interceptions, and only five players in the FBS had more than his 20 passes defended.

Bell is a representative of an Ohio State defense that was one of the best in the country, particularly when it came to stopping the pass, ranking 12th in the FBS in that department. Bell ranked fourth on the Ohio State defense with 63 tackles, scoring a pair of defensive touchdowns, one on an interception return and another on a fumble return.

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Decker was the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was a member of a Buckeyes offensive line that helped Ohio State rank 12th in the country in rushing offense.

Allen was the anchor of an extremely strong Michigan State offensive line that allowed 17 sacks all season and will play for a national championship in the College Football Playoff.

The Big Ten was well represented on the second and third teams, as well.

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin, Ohio State guard Pat Elflein, Michigan tight end Jake Butt, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert and Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis were all named to the second team.

Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, Indiana guard Dan Feeney, Iowa center Austin Blythe, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and Northwestern linebacker Anthony Walker were all named to the third team.

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.