Big Ten

Urban Meyer says Bosa, Jones, Elliott are all off to NFL after Fiesta Bowl

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Urban Meyer says Bosa, Jones, Elliott are all off to NFL after Fiesta Bowl

To the surprise of no one, Ohio State is losing three junior stars to the NFL Draft following Friday's Fiesta Bowl.

Head coach Urban Meyer confirmed to reporters Thursday that defensive end Joey Bosa, quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliott will forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL Draft and pursue professional careers.

The news on all three was completely expected and actually downright expressed by at least a couple of those guys earlier in the year. Ezekiel Elliott made it known he'd be heading to the draft during his rant regarding coaching decisions in the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan State. Jones used social media after that game to indicate it was his final game at Ohio Stadium. Bosa hadn't flat-out said anything yet but made it pretty clear that the last few games were likely his last in scarlet and gray.

Bosa is projected to be one of the first players selected in next year's draft. He's a back-to-back Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, having won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2014. After recording 7.5 sacks his freshman year and a whopping 13.5 a season ago, Bosa had five during the regular season this year. Additionally this season Bosa racked up 16 tackles for loss, had 14 quarterback hurries and even came away with an interception.

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Jones had a rocky season following his breakout stardom during last season's College Football Playoff. Jones was the third quarterback the Buckeyes used following a preseason injury to Braxton Miller and an injury to J.T. Barrett in the regular-season finale, but despite his inexperience he led Ohio State to monumental postseason victories over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Oregon in the national championship game. This season, Jones won the starting job out of camp, but he wasn't lighting up opposing defenses and frequently sat while Barrett played until midway through the campaign, when Barrett was handed the starting gig for good. Appearing in 10 games, Jones completed 62.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,460 yards and eight touchdowns, also throwing five interceptions. Jones reaffirmed his decision to leave to reporters Wednesday. CBSSports.com has Jones ranked as the No. 6 quarterback in the upcoming draft class.

Elliott had a phenomenal season, leading the Big Ten and ranking in the top five in the nation in rushing with 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns and earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors. He went over 100 yards in all but one of the Buckeyes' 12 regular-season games and had a pair of monster performances: 274 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana and 214 yards and two touchdowns against Michigan. Entering the season as a Heisman Trophy favorite, Elliott didn't earn an invite to New York, though he had a comparable season to the running back who won the award, Alabama's Derrick Henry. Elliott currently ranks second on Ohio State's all-time rushing list with 3,812 yards. Elliott is ranked among the top running backs in the draft, with some rankings having him as the No. 1 running back and a potential first-round selection.

Friday's Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame will be the final game at Ohio State for all three Buckeye stars.

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.