Big Ten

Projected starter Damon Knox won't play for Spartans this fall

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Projected starter Damon Knox won't play for Spartans this fall

A potential defensive starter won't be playing for Michigan State this fall.

In a surprising move that further decreased the depth along the Spartans' defensive line, head coach Mark Dantonio announced that defensive tackle Damon Knox won't be suiting up for the Spartans, instead leaving the program and opting to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Knox, who was listed as the Spartans' starter at defensive tackle on the team's spring depth chart, was planning on applying for a sixth year of eligibility, but according to MLive.com, Michigan State never even filed the paperwork. Knox played in 38 games and made three starts in his four active seasons with the team after redshirting in 2011, recording 42 career tackles.

"Damon has been a major contributor to our success the past five years," Dantonio said in the team's announcement. "We appreciate his time and commitment to the Michigan State football program and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

A veteran of the program, Knox was supposed to help fill the voids left by three departing starters — Shilique Calhoun, Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas — from last season's defensive line. Malik McDowell has high expectations as the lone returning starter, but the line's depth took a hit earlier this offseason, when Montez Sweat and Craig Evans left the program in the wake of disciplinary issues over the past two years.

Demetrious Cooper and Evan Jones were listed as the two starters at defensive end on that spring depth chart, with Raequan Williams backing up Knox at defensive tackle.

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.