Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown surprises by declaring for NFL Draft


Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown surprises by declaring for NFL Draft

Ohio State stars Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley and Raekwon McMillan declaring for the NFL Draft was expected.

But Noah Brown? His declaration Saturday came as a bit more of a surprise.

Brown announced on Twitter his decision to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and enter this year's draft.

"Throughout my three years at Ohio State, God put some of the most amazing people in my life and taught me many lessons that I will never forget and will use going forward in my journey," Brown wrote. "I want to thank everyone at The Ohio State University and Buckeye Nation for the best experience I could ever ask for. However after much thought, prayer and conversation with my loved ones I have decided it is time for me to move on to the next level and chase my dreams. I have decided to forgo my remaining years of eligibility and will be declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft."

Brown ranked second on the Buckeyes this season with 402 receiving yards and caught seven touchdown passes, though the majority of his production came in one game. He caught five balls for 72 yards and four touchdowns in Ohio State's win at Oklahoma in September. Take out that one game, and his season stats look like this: 27 catches, 330 yards and three touchdowns. He caught just two more touchdown passes the rest of the season, including the game-winner in overtime to beat Wisconsin.

Still, his 2016 output is hardly the kind of stat line that screams NFL Draft prospect.

Still, Brown was a four-star recruit, rated the No. 9 receiver in the Class of 2014. He missed the entirety of the 2015 season after suffering a leg injury during preseason practice.

Illini season ends in NIT loss to Central Florida

Illini season ends in NIT loss to Central Florida

Well, at least the good news for the Illini is that the Brad Underwood Era can officially begin.

Illinois' 2016-17 campaign came to an end Wednesday night with a 68-58 loss to Central Florida in the NIT quarterfinals.

The Knights blitzed the Illini early, outscoring them 34-19 in the first half, and the lead stayed sizable until a late rally by the Illini got the gap down to as little as six in the closing minutes. But the Knights didn't let the Illini get any closer than that.

Illinois shot a miserable 30.6 percent on the night and had just one player score in double figures.

That player was Malcolm Hill, who had a monster game in the final outing of his college career. Hill scored 29 points, accounting for exactly half his team's total, and splashed home six 3-pointers.

Hill finished his career with 1,846 points, third on the program's all-time scoring list behind Deon Thomas and Kiwane Garris.

Tracy Abrams' career also ended Wednesday night. Abrams had been with the program for the last six seasons, finally playing his senior season this year after missing each of the last two campaigns with season-ending injuries.

The book closed on the John Groce Era. While the former head coach was fired prior to the Illini's three-game stay in this year's NIT, this was the official end of his five-year era in charge of the program.

Underwood, who was introduced as the program's new leader Monday, can now officially begin his tenure.

Big Ten Talk Podcast: Brad Underwood arrives in Champaign as new Illini head coach


Big Ten Talk Podcast: Brad Underwood arrives in Champaign as new Illini head coach

The Illini have a new leader.

In the latest edition of the Big Ten Talk Podcast, CSN's Vinnie Duber chats with new Illinois head basketball coach Brad Underwood and Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman as well as former Illini great Kendall Gill about Underwood's arrival as the new head basketball coach in Champaign.

Plus, Duber and Matt Maniscalco talk about the end of Northwestern's dream season and the three Big Ten teams remaining in the NCAA tournament.

Take a listen to the latest episode below.