Big Ten

Thomas, Marshall, Apple join Buckeyes teammates in declaring for NFL Draft

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Thomas, Marshall, Apple join Buckeyes teammates in declaring for NFL Draft

The mass exodus out of Columbus marches on.

Monday and Tuesday saw three more Ohio State underclassmen declare for the NFL Draft. Wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall and cornerback Eli Apple made it eight Buckeyes sophomores and juniors that have opted to forego remaining eligibility and head to the professional ranks.

Thomas, Marshall and Apple joined five teammates who already made their intentions known: running back Ezekiel Elliott, defensive end Joey Bosa, quarterback Cardale Jones, safety Tyvis Powell and linebacker Darron Lee.

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Thomas, a junior, was the Buckeyes' leading receiver this season, catching 56 passes for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named to the All-Big Ten Third Team by both coaches and the media. He finished his three-year Ohio State career with 1,602 receiving yards and 18 touchdown catches.

Marshall, a sophomore, ranked second on the team only to Elliott with 922 all-purpose yards. He gained 477 receiving yards, 379 punt-return yards, 36 kick-return yards and 30 rushing yards. He ranked second on the team with five touchdown receptions.

Apple, also a sophomore, recorded 33 tackles this season, two tackles for loss, grabbed one interception and recovered one fumble. Coaches named him a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team. Apple was a major part of a sensational Ohio State pass defense that ranked in the top 20 in the country, allowing an average of just 184.5 passing yards per game.

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.