Big Ten

Two from Northwestern, two from Illini taken on Day 3 of NFL Draft

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Two from Northwestern, two from Illini taken on Day 3 of NFL Draft

Two Northwestern players and two Illinois players were selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry and superback Dan Vitale were drafted in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, giving the Wildcats a pair of draftees for the second straight year after safety Ibraheim Campbell and quarterback Trevor Siemian were drafted in 2015.

Lowry went at pick No. 137 to the Green Bay Packers, and Vitale was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 197.

After three Cats were drafted in 2006, no Northwestern product heard his name called until 2010, when three more were drafted. Two Cats were drafted in 2012 before the selections of Campbell and Siemian last year.

Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward became the first Illini drafted since 2013 when he was selected in the second round Friday night. Saturday, two more Illinois products were picked, with offensive lineman Ted Karras going to the New England Patriots at pick No. 221 and safety Clayton Fejedelem going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 235.

The Illini went two years without seeing a player selected in the NFL Draft, but the three-player draft class this year gives Illinois yet another featuring multiple players. At least three Illini went in the NFL Draft for five straight years from 2009 to 2013.

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.