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Football: Carr, Walker, Igwebuike eye NFL future; Jackson says he’s staying

by Bobby Pillote 0 Comments
Football: Carr, Walker, Igwebuike eye NFL future; Jackson says he’s staying
(Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer)

With a bowl victory in hand, some Northwestern players are looking into the next step of their football careers.

Senior receiver Austin Carr finished his year with a program single season record 1247 yards receiving and will begin his preparation for the pros right away, he said. Carr has already accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game, a postseason showcase to be played Jan. 21.

“The NFL has always been a dream of mine,” Carr said. “Hopefully I’m going to be drafted, God willing.”

Juniors Godwin Igwebuike and Anthony Walker have a year of college eligibility remaining and face the decision of whether to leave school early. Each will receive feedback about their pro prospects from the NFL draft advisory board, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, though neither has made a final decision.

“I’m still thinking it over,” Walker said. “It’s not going to be a decision that’s made today or tomorrow, so I’m going to take some time, sit down and get all the information that I need.”

Despite an excellent season of his own, junior running back Justin Jackson denied rumors he would be leaving school early, saying he intends to finish his degree. Jackson has never redshirted and has been at NU for just three years; Igwebuike and Walker each redshirted their first season and have been at NU four years.

The deadline to declare for the 2017 NFL draft is Jan. 16.

Austin Carr named third-team All-American

Austin Carr named third-team All-American
(Daily file photo by Allie Goulding)

Senior receiver Austin Carr has been named to the All-America third team, the Associated Press announced Monday.

Carr, a former walk-on, easily had the best season of his career, leading the Big Ten with 84 receptions, 1,196 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. Carr’s bond with sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson also boosted Northwestern to the fourth-best passing offense in the Big Ten.

Additionally, Carr finished as one of three semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given out annually to the best receiver in the country.

Carr was the only Wildcat named to any of the three AP All-America teams.

Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo shares third-team honors with Carr. The two receivers finished behind Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook and Western Michigan wideout Corey Davis (first team), as well as East Carolina pass-catcher Zay Jones and Washington receiver John Ross (second team).

For the list of the full AP All-America teams, click here.

Northwestern to play No. 23 Pittsburgh in Pinstripe Bowl

Northwestern to play No. 23 Pittsburgh in Pinstripe Bowl
(Source: Pinstripe Bowl)

After earning a bowl berth in their final game of the regular season, the Wildcats (6-6, 5-4 Big Ten) will face No. 23 Pittsburgh (8-4, 5-3 ACC) in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28, the bowl announced Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers finished fourth in the ACC Coastal division, but had the same record as North Carolina and Miami. Pittsburgh also has a number of impressive wins on its resume including victories over No. 2 Clemson and Big Ten Champion Penn State.

Northwestern will be participating in its second straight bowl and 13th all-time. The Cats fell to Tennessee in last year’s Outback Bowl, 45-6.

Football: Carr named Big Ten Receiver of the Year

by Max Schuman 0 Comments
Football: Carr named Big Ten Receiver of the Year
(Daily file photo by Jacob Swan)

After possibly the best statistical season by a receiver in school history, senior wideout Austin Carr won the Big Ten’s Receiver of the Year award, the conference announced Wednesday.

The former walk-on put up massive numbers in his final year at Northwestern, showing an impressive rapport with sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson that formed the backbone of the team’s offense. Carr led the Big Ten in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, finishing with a final line of 84 catches for 1196 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is also one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver.

From Sept. 10 against Illinois State to Oct. 22 against Indiana, Carr caught a touchdown in six straight games to set a program record. With the Wildcats’ bowl game still remaining, Carr currently is tied for NU’s single-season record in touchdowns and is second in school history in single-season receptions and yards.

Carr was joined on the media’s All-Big Ten first team by junior running back Justin Jackson. Jackson, who was also named to the coaches’ all-conference second team, led the Big Ten in rushing with 1300 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Thorson, sophomore guard Tommy Doles and junior superback Garrett Dickerson all received all-conference honorable-mention nods from the Cats’ offense as well. In total, ten NU players were named to All-Big Ten teams or were given honorable mentions.

Ifeadi Odenigbo named First-Team All-Big Ten; Four others earn honors

Ifeadi Odenigbo named First-Team All-Big Ten; Four others earn honors
(Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson)

Senior defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten roster by the media, the conference announced.

Odenigbo led the conference with 10 sacks in 2016, pushing him to second in program history with 23.5 career sacks. His season was punctuated by a four-sack performance against Iowa in October, a Northwestern single-game record.

The D-Lineman also picked up a Second-Team nomination by the conference’s coaches.

Four other Wildcats also earned All-Big Ten honors: junior safety Godwin Igwebuike, junior linebacker Anthony Walker, junior kick returner Solomon Vault and sophomore cornerback Montre Hartage.

Igwebuike and Walker were named Second-Team by coaches and Third-Team by media. Igwebuike led Big Ten defensive backs with 101 tackles, while Walker averaged 9.4 tackles over his last eight games after sustaining an injury during training camp.

Vault was named to the Third-Team by the media. The junior, who already holds the program record for kick/punt return touchdowns, recorded his fifth career return TD against Michigan State in October.

Hartage earned an honorable mention as selected by media. The sophomore led NU with five interceptions and nine pass breakups.

Austin Carr departs in third quarter after injury

by Max Gelman 0 Comments

Senior wide receiver Austin Carr left the Wildcats’ game against Minnesota with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

Carr was injured on the play and walked off the field gingerly after taking a hit from Minnesota defender Duke McGhee. It is unclear where Carr was injured, though McGhee was ejected from the game for targeting. The ejection was McGhee’s third this season for targeting.

Coming into the game, Carr led the Big Ten in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was named one of ten semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, handed out to the nation’s top receiver, earlier this week.

Austin Carr named semifinalist for award given out to top receiver

Austin Carr named semifinalist for award given out to top receiver
(Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette)

Northwestern senior Austin Carr was named a semifinalist Monday for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award, given out annually to the best receiver in the nation.

Through ten games, Carr leads the Big Ten with 75 catches, 1,102 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. On Saturday against Purdue, Carr tied the Northwestern single-season record for touchdowns and needs 144 more receiving yards for the program record in yards.

The Biletnikoff Award is handed out every year by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation to the nation’s top receiver, which can include anyone who catches passes such as running backs and tight ends. However, all ten semifinalists for the 2016 honor are wide receivers.

Women’s Basketball: Coffey named preseason All-Big Ten

Women’s Basketball: Coffey named preseason All-Big Ten
(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

Senior forward Nia Coffey was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team in both coaches and media panels, the conference announced Monday.

Coffey, who averaged a double-double for most of last season before finishing the season with 20.3 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per contest, was a first-team postseason selection each of the last two seasons by both coaches and media. She also received honorable mention AP All-American honors last year. This is the third consecutive year Coffey was named to the preseason all-conference team.

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was the Big Ten preseason Player of the Year for both coaches and the media, and Maryland was selected as the conference favorite.

The Cats will open their regular season Nov. 11 against Hampton. After starting last season 10-0 and reaching No. 12 in the AP poll, NU struggled mightily in Big Ten play and finished with an 18-17 record after losing in the first round of the WNIT. After the graduation of guard Maggie Lyon last year, the Cats are expected to be led this year by Coffey and senior guards Ashley Deary and Christen Inman.

Men’s Basketball: Freshman Rapolas Ivanauskas to miss 2016-17 season

Northwestern freshman forward Rapolas Ivanauskas will miss the 2016-17 men’s basketball season as he recovers from shoulder surgery, the program announced Monday.

In the press release, coach Chris Collins said he expects a full recovery in four to six months. It is likely that Ivanauskas will be redshirted to preserve his four years of eligibility.

Ranked No. 97 in the nation by Rivals in the 2016 recruiting class, the 6-foot-9 Illinois native was the Wildcats’ top rated recruit and was expected to bring a much-needed scoring presence to NU’s frontcourt. After spending three years at Barrington High School and receiving all-state recognition from several outlets following his junior season, Ivanauskas transferred to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for his senior year.

The loss of the forward depletes NU’s post options as the team looks to replace the production of graduated center Alex Olah. Freshman center Barret Benson is now the only player on roster who stands above 6-foot-8, with sophomore Dererk Pardon, junior Gavin Skelly and senior Nathan Taphorn listed at 6-foot-8.

Brett Walsh carted off after injury during kick return, all tests negative

by Max Schuman 0 Comments

During Saturday’s game at Iowa, junior linebacker Brett Walsh was carted off the field after an injury suffered during a kickoff return in the third quarter.

Walsh was laying motionless on the field following the play, and trainers removed his jersey and pads before lifting him onto the cart. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was carted off the field following a lengthy delay.

UPDATE (1:36 p.m.): Walsh was taken to a hospital across the street from Kinnick Stadium. He was fully conscious and moving all extremities, according to the team’s official Twitter.

UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): Coach Pat Fitzgerald concluded his post-game press conference saying that all of Walsh’s tests were negative and he will likely be returning to Evanston tonight, though not with the team.

Updates to come.