Big Ten

Stop the speculation: Braxton Miller is most definitely sticking with Buckeyes

braxton-miller-0709.png

Stop the speculation: Braxton Miller is most definitely sticking with Buckeyes

The Braxton Miller transfer speculation can finally cease. The Ohio State quarterback isn't going anywhere.

Talk has been rampant this offseason that Miller, who hasn't played a game for the Buckeyes since the 2014 Orange Bowl loss to Clemson, might opt to take a starting gig elsewhere rather than compete in a position battle with teammates J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, who both excelled while filling in for an injured Miller en route to Ohio State winning last season's national championship.

There were rumors linking Miller to both Florida State and Oregon, but all along, everyone including head coach Urban Meyer, athletics director Gene Smith and even Miller's dad asserted that the senior would be back with the Buckeyes.

And Thursday, Miller — talking to the Columbus Dispatch in his first comments to any media outlet since prior to the start of last season — made it known that he will be playing his final season of college football in Columbus.

“I look on the Internet, and I see things forever on my timeline — Instagram, Twitter — that had me transferring to all types of different schools and stuff like that,” Miller told the Dispatch. “It was kind of a big controversy at the time but, you know, I had to keep my head on straight. ... Schools reached out, they reached out hard, and I kept my head where it needed to be, and I stayed smart with my situation."

[MORE BIG TEN: All three Buckeyes QBs make Maxwell Award watch list]

The speculation regarding a transfer that never happened stemmed from not just the upcoming quarterback competition but also from the fact that Miller, who graduated in December, could have transferred to another school and been immediately eligible, allowing him to play right away without sitting out a season.

Miller was the two-time reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year before he injured his throwing shoulder in that aforementioned Orange Bowl. He was on track to return for the start of last season but injured the same shoulder again during practice just days before the first game.

That led to Barrett taking over, and he had a sensational season, leading the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular-season record, breaking several program and conference records (some held by Miller) and finishing fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. When Barrett went down with an ankle injury in the regular-season finale against Michigan, Jones took the reins, leading the Buckeyes to wins in the three biggest games of the season: the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin, the Sugar Bowl against Alabama and the College Football Playoff national title game against Oregon.

All three guys are back for 2015, hence the much-anticipated QB battle this summer.

[MORE BIG TEN: Advocacy group president calls for Illini athletics firings]

While many look at what happened last year and think Barrett or Jones can best Miller for the starting gig, don't be too quick to forget just how good Miller was as a sophomore and a junior. He's twice finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting.

Miller hasn't forgotten.

“I know who I am as a person. I know who I am as an athlete,” Miller told the Dispatch. “As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football. If any competition wants to come my way, I’ve just got to be smart about things and just stay looking forward.”

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

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.