Big Ten

Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton, three other B1G receivers on Biletnikoff watch list

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Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton, three other B1G receivers on Biletnikoff watch list

The Big Ten isn't flush with best-in-the-country wideouts like it has been with other positions in recent years. But that doesn't mean there are some very talented pass catchers in the conference, and four of them were included on the Biletnikoff Award watch list when it was released Wednesday.

The Biletnikoff Award — handed out to college football's top receiver each season — named Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton, Rutgers' Leonte Carroo, Ohio State's Michael Thomas and Wisconsin's Alex Erickson to its watch list.

Hamilton was sensational as a freshman a season ago, quickly establishing himself as the go-to target for quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Hamilton caught more passes, 82, than any other player in the Big Ten, but Penn State's sluggish offense meant he racked up only 899 yards (fifth in the conference) and just two touchdown catches. The media made him an All-Big Ten Second Team selection.

[MORE BIG TEN: Did Nick Saban blame NFL Draft for Alabama's Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State?]

Carroo was an All-Big Ten First Team pick of the media after lighting up the stat sheet and scoreboard last season. Carroo's 1,086 receiving yards were second in the conference, and his 10 touchdown catches ranked third. Carroo had three games with multiple touchdown catches, including three against Tulane and two in that huge comeback win over Maryland.

Thomas was big for the national-champion Buckeyes, ranking second on the team with 799 receiving yards. He was on the receiving end of Evan Spencer's trick-play touchdown toss that brought Ohio State within one point of Alabama at halftime of the Sugar Bowl, and he caught a two-point conversion pass from Cardale Jones later in that game.

Erickson was Wisconsin's leading receiver last season with 772 yards, and he caught three touchdown passes.

The award has been presented each year since 1994, but only four Big Ten players have taken it home: Penn State’s Bobby Engram in 1994, Ohio State’s Terry Glenn in 1995, Michigan State’s Charles Rogers in 2002 and Michigan’s Braylon Edwards in 2004.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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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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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.