Maryland's Brad Craddock ended a 10-year Big Ten drought by winning last year's Lou Groza Award, honoring him as the top kicker in college football.
Now he's going for a repeat performance.
Craddock was one of three Big Ten kickers on the Lou Groza Award watch list, released Thursday, joined by Wisconsin's Rafael Gaglianone and Purdue's Paul Griggs.
Craddock made 18 of his 19 field goal attempts last season, setting a new school record with that 94.7-percent conversion rate. His 57-yarder against Ohio State was also a school record. The highlight of his season came when he nailed a game-winner in the final minute of the Terps' win over Penn State.
[MORE BIG TEN: Spartans' Jack Allen leads six B1G centers on Rimington watch list]
Gaglianone grabbed attention last season as a true freshman out of Brazil, and he kicked very well, nailing 19 of his 22 field-goal attempts. He came through in the clutch in Wisconsin's big Outback Bowl win over Auburn, tying the game with seven seconds left and then booting the game-winner in overtime.
Only three Big Ten kickers made more field goals than Griggs last season. Griggs was 16-for-20 on the year, including three kicks of 50-plus yards. He was the only kicker in the FBS to go perfect from 50 yards or more with at least three attempts. Two of those came in one game, too.
In addition to the Lou Groza Award watch list coming out Thursday, the Ray Guy Award watch list was released, as well. The award honoring college football's best punter included two Big Ten players on its watch list: Ohio State's Cameron Johnston and Minnesota's Peter Mortell. Big Ten punters won three of the first four Ray Guy Awards but haven't claimed one since 2003.
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 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.