2015 NFL DRAFT
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James Laurinaitis

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 244 | College: Ohio State
 
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Overview

One of the most highly dedicated athletes in school history, Laurinaitis carried on the tradition of standout performers to compete at linebacker for the university, joining perennial All-Americans Chris Spielman, Tom Cousineau, Pepper Johnson, Steve Tovar and A.J. Hawk as some of the best ever produced at OSU.

In addition to garnering All-American and All-Big Ten Conference honors since his sophomore campaign, Laurinaitis has been a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award. He was the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award winner as the nation's best defensive player, the same year he won the Randy Gradishar Linebacker Award. As a junior, he added the coveted Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) to his trophy case.

In 2008, Laurinaitis was named the inaugural winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for NCAA. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to the most outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete in nine sports. The announcement and trophy presentation to Laurinaitis were made today during the pre-game show of the Fiesta Bowl national telecast on FOX.

Laurinaitis, who has received many awards including the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, said the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is special because of what it represents. "What a tremendous honor this is to be recognized with such a prestigious award," Laurinaitis said. "The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is already well known in basketball, and to be the first-ever winner for football is something very special. I appreciate the compliment it pays to me and to Ohio State to be recognized for character, academics and community service. I am very proud to be the winner."

The son of world renowned wrestler, Joe Laurinaitis (pronounced Larr-en-EYE-tiss), who competed as the "Animal" in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the tag team called the Road Warriors (Legion of Doom), James also has excelled in the classroom. One of the more instinctive players on the field, he also captured Academic All-Big Ten Conference honors during his junior season.

At Plymouth Wayzata High School, Laurinaitis was named Minnesota's "Defensive Mr. Football" as a senior, going on to record 193 tackles, five sacks and 28 stops behind the line of scrimmage. That year, he led the team to the Minnesota Class 5A state championship game.

During his junior campaign, Laurinaitis was credited with 160 tackles, earning All-State and All-Conference accolades. In addition to his exploits on the football field, he also excelled in hockey, serving as that team's captain during his senior year. He led the hockey squad to the state tournament in 2004 and was considered to be a possible second- or third-round pick if he had decided to enter the NHL draft after high school.

When Laurinaitis accepted a scholarship to Ohio State in 2005, he became the first player from the state of Minnesota to join the Buckeyes' football team since the famed Sid Gillman in 1930. The true freshman played mostly on special teams and as a reserve outside linebacker that season. He would close out his first year on the varsity by delivering nine tackles (3 solos) and assisting on one stop behind the line of scrimmage.

Laurinaitis shifted to middle linebacker in 2006, earning All-American and All-Big Ten Conference first-team accolades. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award, in addition to winning the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation's best defensive player. He ranked fourth in the conference and led the team with 115 tackles (53 solos), including four sacks and 8.5 stops for losses. He also paced the Buckeyes with five interceptions and deflected two other throws while causing three fumbles.

As a junior, Laurinaitis was again selected All-American and All-Big Ten Conference first-team. He was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and won the Butkus Award, as he tallied a team-high 121 tackles (51 solos). He posted 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including five sacks and also picked off two passes.

Laurinaitis was voted team captain for the second consecutive season by his teammates in 2008 and is only the seventh Buckeye to be elected twice. He earned All-American and

All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, and for the second consecutive year was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

He led the team, ranked second in the Big Ten and 14th in the nation with an average of 10.0 tackles per game. He posted a career-high 130 hits (52 solos) with four sacks and seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also picked off a pair of passes and deflected four others while leading the Buckeyes to four BCS bowl games during his career at the university.

Analysis

Positives: Prototype size and athleticism for the inside linebacker position. Reads the action quickly and gets in position to make the play. Instinctive and rarely out of position. Uses his hands well to meet, greet and discard blockers. Best attribute might be his open-field tackling. Form tackler who can generate explosiveness with his hits. Rare instincts and underrated athleticism for coverage. Gets good depth on his drops and has good straight-line speed and lateral agility. Baits the quarterback and can break on the ball. Soft hands for the interception.

Negatives: Needs to continue to add strength, especially in his upper body. Relies on his athleticism and good technique to defeat blocks and can struggle to disengage. Consistent and reliable, but rarely made the game-changing play over his career. Experienced and productive blitzer, but doesn't show a variety of pass rush moves, relying more on athleticism, hustle and instincts.

Compares To: NICK BARNETT, Green Bay -- Like Barnett, Laurinaitis gets most of his production by making plays on the move. He has very good range and change of direction agility, but for a middle linebacker, you would look for someone that is more of a smash mouth type. But, the OSU defender lacks the brute strength and bulk, resulting in his getting bounced around when attacking inside. He would be a much better fit as a weak-side linebacker (compares to Green Bay's A.J. Hawk there), as he has the foot speed and pursuit skills to be a big impact vs. the outside running game. He will be an effective player in the middle, but could be much more productive if allowed to roam the field from the outside, as he is better on the chase than one who can initiate the tackle (only 159 of 375 career tackles are solo efforts).

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT: GRADE: 6.8

Body Structure: Laurinaitis has a decent size frame that may lack ideal height, but shows a cut, athletic physique with good lower body thickness, tight waist and hips, good washboard-type abdomen, muscular thighs and calves and low body fat. He has a broad chest with good shoulder length, but could use additional upper body strength to prevent from being engulfed by the larger blockers. He has room on his frame to add more bulk without having it affect his overall timed speed and quickness.

Athletic Ability: Laurinaitis has above average quickness and change of direction agility, looking fluid scraping down the line. He is not a "blow them up" type of tackler and can be engulfed by larger blockers in tight areas, but he uses his lateral movement to slip past and avoid blockers effectively. He might be a better fit for an outside position, as he shows a good flow to the ball, but it's unlikely he has the physical strength to match up to the more physical NFL blockers attacking from the middle (more of a pile-on tackler than one that steps up to initiate contact). He has the speed and range to cover the field coming from the outside and that quickness seems a better fit for him to apply pressure coming off the edge. He has good lower body flexibility, especially in the hips. He also demonstrates good balance on the move, along with the acceleration and burst to close on plays in front of him. GRADE: 6.6

Football Sense: Laurinaitis is a very smart and instinctive athlete. He has a nice feel for blocking schemes, knowing that he needs to avoid bigger opponents, as he lacks the brute strength and bulk to match up against offensive linemen in one-on-one battles. He makes good calls and has the vision to locate the ball in a hurry. He learns and retains plays well, having no problems taking them from the chalkboard to the playing field. He plays with his head up and does a nice job of anticipating the quarterback's moves, but can get fooled by play-action when he gets out of control at times. He gets a good break on the ball, flowing to the sidelines quickly to challenge the ball carrier and cut off the cutback lanes. GRADE: 7.1

Character: Laurinaitis is an ideal program type who the coaches use frequently to mentor their younger players. He comes from a supportive family and has no problems living in the spotlight, as his father was one of the most well-known wrestlers in the history of that industry. He is a good student who excels academically and has never had any off-field issues. He is a real warrior on the field, but an excellent example off of it. He plays with good emotion, but is not one who has a reckless nature. GRADE: 7.0

Competitiveness: Laurinaitis plays hard until the whistle, as it is the only way he knows how to play. He works to be around the ball and will play with pain. He is the type that will pursue long distances to make the play and does whatever it takes to get to the ball. His effort and desire makes others around him try to perform to that level. GRADE: 6.9

Work Habits: Laurinaitis is a good team leader. He takes well to hard coaching, but that is rarely needed, as he is possibly the most compliant player in that program since A.J. Hawk. He does the little extras in the training room to improve his strength (still a work in progress there, but improving). He competes just as hard in practice as he does in games and is very vocal in the huddle. He shows good maturity and will not hesitate to sacrifice his body to make the play. He is a pleasure to coach, for if his mentor pushes him, he will respond in a positive way. GRADE: 6.5

ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 6.54

Key and Diagnostic Skills: Laurinaitis has a good feel for blocking schemes, knowing that he has much better success when avoiding blockers rather than taking them on, due to adequate strength issues. He does a good job of reading and reacting to keys and sees the big picture quickly in attempts to get around opponents in closing on the ball. He is not effective in his backside pursuit due to getting absorbed by bigger blockers, making him a better candidate to play on the outside, due to a combination of adequate strength and his good ability to flow to the ball when giving long distance chases. When he gets out of control, he can be fooled by play-action and misdirection. He does a better job of locating plays in front of him, as he does struggle some tracking the ball in flight (has nine interceptions and seven pass deflections for his career, but in the last two years teams have completed 54 of 80 passes (67.50 percent) targeted into his area). While he seems tentative in zone coverage, vs. the run, he sees and reacts much more quickly. He reads off the snap well, but when trying to sift through trash, he will lose sight of the ball at times, making him much more effective when utilized in motion. GRADE: 7.5

Playing Strength and Explosion: Laurinaitis needs to improve his overall strength, especially in his upper body, as bigger blockers have had good success locking on and controlling him once they are able to get a piece of his jersey. He knows he is not a strong shed player, having to make most of his tackles on the move or when assisting on the play (in 37 starting assignments, he had more solo tackles than assisted hits in just seven of those contests. In addition, only 149 of his 354 tackles were solo efforts). His lack of raw strength playing inside is a bit of a concern, especially when trying to play off blocks, making me feel he is better suited as a weak-side outside linebacker. He does play with good knee bend and keeps his hands active in attempts to shed. He is just not the type that will fill hard or stack at the point of attack, as he can be pinned and sealed by the bigger opponent and must work around blocks rather than take them on. While he does work hard to stay square, he can be positioned at the X's. GRADE: 5.9

Lateral Pursuit/Range: Laurinaitis knows this is one of his better assets, and would be better utilized like A.J. Hawk (Packers) as a weak-side linebacker, he will be much more productive than he can be in the middle. He struggles at time to get through traffic and maintain position at the point of attack, but plays with good effort and better production in pursuit. He takes good angles to the ball and has the closing speed to give chase and make plays in front of him. You can see on film that he plays better when flowing to the ball, especially when unblocked, as he can angle and cut through to make plays on the edge and has the range to get wide in order to make those stops. GRADE: 7.5

Use of Hands: Laurinaitis is active with his hands when taking on and shedding blocks, but he lacks that strong hand punch to put offensive linemen back on their heels. He keeps his hands inside his framework to get under the blocker's pads, but when he is challenged by counter moves he will struggle to disengage and shed. He catches the ball outside his framework when going for the interception (does struggle to turn and stay on the receiver in the zone, despite good change of direction agility). He has dropped several catchable interceptions that resulted in deflections instead when he fails to secure the ball before heading upfield sometimes. His ball skills are much better on plays in front of him that when having to track it over his outside shoulder or with his back turned to the ball, though. GRADE: 6.7

Tackling Ability: When he keeps plays in front of him and stays low in his pads, Laurinaitis is very effective attacking the ball carrier's outside leg to impede the opponent's forward progress. He has the range to make plays on the outside and has shown a much better concept for taking angles as a senior than he did in the past. Still, he seems to try to over-compensate for a lack of raw power by getting reckless when trying to shoot the gaps, failing to keep his feet vs. double-team activity. He is better served playing in control, as he will revert to over-pursuing and getting too aggressive when trying to make that "home run" hit, as he struggles at times trying to get back into the action when he races out of control past the play. He is just better tackling on the outside, where he does not have to take on the big-body type blockers so much. He will come to balance and take good angles with his outside pursuit, but when he gets too tall in his stance he loses some pop on contact. He just needs to be more consistent as a low pad level wrap-up tackler (opponents can bounce off his high hits). He has shown steady improvement breaking down and coming under better control in space as a senior (but did revert to his reckless approach in the late season games vs. Northwestern, resulting in two penalties and allowing three long first downs and vs. Illinois, where he was blown off the ball on three long first down runs). GRADE: 6.5

Run Defense: Laurinaitis plays better on running plays to the outside than when trying to impact the action in-line due to size, bulk and strength issues. He gets bounced around some on inside running plays due to those physical deficiencies. He is quick to avoid in pursuit, but must improve his upper body strength to stand up blocks and play downhill. He is best when unblocked, as he can be pushed out of position when he fails to square up in attempts to fill the gaps. On outside plays, he has the range and change of direction agility to get through traffic in attempts to get wide to make the play. He keeps his feet better on the move and is a much better force when giving chase. The thing that makes him a better outside linebacker prospect is his ability to run clean with good angles when generating long pursuit. In his last two years, opponents gained 551 yards on 174 running plays he was involved in, averaging 3.17 yards per rushing attempt. GRADE: 6.7

Pass Defense: Covering in the short area, Laurinaitis gets decent depth in his pass drops, as he has the hip flexibility and quick feet to mirror tight ends and backs underneath. He has good eyes reading the pass when facing the quarterback, but struggles to track the ball in flight over his shoulder. His ball skills are evident (nine interceptions) on plays in front of him. He shows the awareness to locate and pick up receivers, having the loose hips needed to turn and flip. He does appear a bit tentative in deep zone coverage, but shows fluidity in his short area drops, playing his man with a tight cushion. GRADE: 6.5

Zone Defense: This is an area of concern, as he does not seem to get as quick of a read on the quarterback as he does when playing in the short area. He will take some false steps coming out of his breaks and appears tentative in squaring and lowering his pads to make the hit (does not seem as confident in his positioning vs. the pass and receiver as he does vs. the run and ball carrier). He has to digest the plays longer when trying to read and react to the deep ball. His interception total indicates that he can make plays on the ball, but he has to be much quicker coming out of his breaks. Opponents have completed 64.29 percent of their pass attempts (54 of 80 throws) into his area the last two years, but they averaged just 7.15 yards per completion and 4.83 yards per pass attempt, acceptable figures. GRADE: 5.7

Pass Rush and Blitz: When trying to bull rush and pressure the pocket from the inside, Laurinaitis does not do a great job of containment (just one pressure, but has 12 sacks). He is better coming off the edge in back side pursuit, but needs to develop better moves (rip, swim and club), as he does not really have an array of tricks up his sleeve to counter vs. the offensive line types. With his speed, he is a better blitzer from the outside, where he does not have to worry about getting stacked and stopped as often as he does when trying to shoot the gaps. He can drop down and rush the passer coming off the edge in nickel situations, where he has more than enough speed to close, making him a better weak-side linebacker prospect. He does show good anticipation on the snap, but without great bulk or size, he does not bring enough heat to flush and close on the quarterback when playing inside. GRADE: 5.9

Compares To: NICK BARNETT, Green Bay -- Like Barnett, Laurinaitis gets most of his production by making plays on the move. He has very good range and change of direction agility, but for a middle linebacker, you would look for someone that is more of a smash mouth type. But, the OSU defender lacks the brute strength and bulk, resulting in his getting bounced around when attacking inside. He would be a much better fit as a weak-side linebacker (compares to Green Bay's A.J. Hawk there), as he has the foot speed and pursuit skills to be a big impact vs. the outside running game. He will be an effective player in the middle, but could be much more productive if allowed to roam the field from the outside, as he is better on the chase than one who can initiate the tackle (only 159 of 375 career tackles are solo efforts).

OVERALL GRADE: 6.59

--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas

Career Notes

In 51 games at Ohio State, Laurinaitis started his last 39 games … Only the 14th player in school history to record more than 300 tackles in a career, his 375 tackles (159 solos) rank seventh on the school's career record list, topped by Marcus Marek (572, 1979-82), Tom Cousineau (569, 1975-78), Chris Spielman (546, 1984-87), Steve Tovar (408, 1989-92), A.J. Hawk (394, 2002-05) and "Pepper" Johnson (379, 1982-85) … Became just the fourth player in OSU annals to register more than 200 assisted tackles (216) in a career, joining Marek (316), Cousineau (310) and Spielman (263) … Became the just the fourth player in school history to lead the team in tackles three times in a career (115 in 2006; 121 in 2007; 130 in 2008), joining Hawk (106 in 2003; 141 in 2004; 121 in 2005), Tovar (125 in 1990; 97 in 1991; 128 in 1992) and Marek (140 in 1980; 148 in 1981; 178 in 1982) … Registered 13 sacks for minus 93 yards, 24.5 stops for losses of 112 yards and a pressure … Caused four fumbles and recovered another … Deflected seven passes and intercepted nine others for 72 yards in returns … Had at least 10 tackles in 18 of 51 contests (team compiled a 14-4 record in those games) … In 16 career contests against ranked opponents, Laurinaitis recorded 164 tackles, an average of 10.25 per game … Was voted team captain for the second consecutive season by his teammates in 2008 and is only the seventh Buckeye to be elected captain twice in a career.

2008 Season

A consensus All-American and All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection, Laurinaitis served as defensive captain for the second-straight year, becoming just the seventh player in school history to serve as captain for multiple seasons … Named one of four finalists for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award (only Big Ten player in consideration for that award) … Winner of the Ronnie Lott Trophy. Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year and is given as recognition of athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player … Recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition … Finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defender by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia and one of five defensive players among fifteen finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award … Started all thirteen games, becoming the fourth player in school history to lead the team in tackles three times in a career, as he ranked second in the Big Ten and 14th nationally with an average of 10.0 tackles per game … Recorded a career-high 130 tackles (52 solos) that included four sacks for minus 28 yards, seven stops for losses of 34 yards and one QB pressure … Caused a fumble, deflected four passes and picked off two others … On 108 plays vs. the running game, the opposition gained 381 yards (3.53 ypc) and three touchdowns, with 20 first downs that included five rushes for longer than 10 yards, including two more than 20 yards, as he also stopped ball carriers for no gain at the line of scrimmage five times … On 41 pass plays he was involved in, the opposition completed 23 of those tosses (56.10%) for 147 yards and five first downs, an average of 6.39 yards per pass completion and 3.59 yards per pass attempt (jammed or rerouted receivers on eleven incomplete throws) … Made twelve of his tackles inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays … Made nineteen third-down hits (11 vs. the run/8 vs. the pass) and six fourth-down stops (including one on a punt return) … Helped the team rank 14th in the nation in total defense (293.77 ypg), sixth in scoring defense (13.92 ppg) and 19th in rush defense (110.23 ypg) … Drew two personal foul penalties, both coming on the same series vs. Northwestern.

2008 Game Analysis

Youngstown State … Laurinaitis opened the season quietly, posting only five assisted tackles … He took down Dana Brown on a third-&-7 run over left end that netted just 2 yards, forcing YSU to punt late in the second quarter … Head to Head Competition-OC#67-Brad Samsa (6:03-293) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#34-Jabari Scott (5:10-192)-Five carries for 4 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made three of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 8 yards (2.67 ypc), as his opponent completed 2 of 2 passes thrown into his area for 9 yards … Made one third-down stop, as the defense allowed minus 11 yards and no touchdowns on 21 carries (-0.52 ypc) while the opposition generated 74 total yards on 39 plays (1.90 yards per attempt).

Ohio University … Laurinaitis picked off the eighth pass of his career late in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-best nine total tackles (4 solos) and a pass break-up … Twice he stopped ball carriers for no gains, taking down Donte Hardin at the OSU 22 at the start of the second half and leveled Chris Garrett at the OSU 22 near the end of the second quarter … He also picked off a third-&-9 toss by Boo Jackson to kill a 40-yard, 9-play series in the fourth frame … Head to Head Competition-OC#66-Tommy Stuck (6:01-286) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#2-Chris Garrett (5:08-174)-Seven carries for 22 yards, three catches for 2 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made eight of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 19 yards (2.38 ypc), as his opponent completed 1 of 4 passes thrown into his area for 12 yards … Made one third-down hit and stopped ball carriers twice for no gain, as the defense allowed 145 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries (4.68 ypc) while the opposition generated 254 total yards on 65 plays (3.91 yards per attempt).

Southern California … Laurinaitis earned team Defensive Player of the Week honors, as he was one of the Buckeyes' few bright spots, posting nine tackles (6 solos) … He chased down Joe McKnight on a 5-yard punt return after OSU's first possession for the game … He was burnt on a Mark Sanchez 1-yard touchdown toss to Blake Ayles early in the second stanza … Tailback Stafon Johnson was clobbered by the linebacker on a third-&-2 run that resulted in no gain, forcing USC to punt with four minutes left in the first half … Laurinaitis forced another Trojans punt after he stopped McKnight from getting to a third-&-15 Sanchez toss at the OSU 36 to begin second half play … Record Watch: With nine tackles, Laurinaitis now has 270 for his career, moving past Eddie Beamon (269, 1974-77) for 17th on the school's all-time record list … Head to Head Competition-OC#61-Kristofer O'Dowd (6:05-306) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#4-Joe McKnight (6:00-201)-12 carries for 105 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made six of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 25 yards (4.17 ypc), as his opponent completed 2 of 3 passes thrown into his area for 7 yards and a score … Made two third-down hits, one more on fourth down and twice stopped ball carriers for no gain, as the defense allowed 164 yards and no touch-downs on 32 carries (5.13 ypc) while the opposition generated 348 total yards on 62 plays (5.61 yards per attempt).

Troy … Laurinaitis again garnered team Defensive Player of the Week honors (Attack Force), as he was in on twelve tackles (4 solos) that included a 9-yard sack … Late in the first quarter, the middle linebacker slipped past center Danny Franks to take down Jamie Hampton for a 9-yard sack at the OSU 13 … Head to Head Competition-OC#75-Danny Franks (6:03-290) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#32-DuJuan Harris (5:07-191)-11 carries for 54 yards, eight catches for 29 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made nine of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 24 yards (2.67 ypc), as his opponent completed 3 of 3 passes thrown into his area for 16 yards … Made one third-down hit, as the defense allowed 97 yards and no touchdowns on 23 carries (4.22 ypc) while the opposition generated 315 total yards on 66 plays (4.77 yards per attempt).

Minnesota … Consistent play is one of Laurinatis' best traits, as the team captain earned Attack Force Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third-straight game, producing another twelve tackles (4 solos) … The linebacker jammed tailback DeLeon Eskridge twice at the line of scrimmage, preventing QB Adam Weber from completing passes to the Gopher runner at the end of the second and third quarters, respectively … Record Watch: Laurinaitis' 12 tackles moved his career total to 291, surpassing Lorenzo Styles (282, 1992-94) and Nick Buonamici (280, 1973-76) to move to 15th on the school's all-time record list … Head to Head Competition-OC#52-Jeff Tow-Arnett (6:02-288) and #61-Trey Davis (6:02-276) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#23-DeLeon Eskridge (5:11-190)-18 carries for 76 yards, eight catches for 55 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made eight of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 29 yards (3.63 ypc), as his opponent completed 4 of 6 passes thrown into his area for 32 yards … Made one fourth-down hit, as the defense allowed 81 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries (2.89 ypc) while the opposition generated 268 total yards on 64 plays (4.19 yards per attempt).

Wisconsin … For the third consecutive game, Laurinaitis reached double-digit tackle totals (10), including one that stopped tailback Zach Brown for no gain on a first quarter rushing attempt to the Badgers 32 … Twice he prevented tailback P.J. Hill from catching passes thrown by QB Allan Evridge … Record Watch: This marked the 12th time that Laurinaitis totaled ten or more tackles in a game for the Buckeyes … His ten tackles gave him 291 for his career, moving ahead of Jerome Foster (290, 1979-82) for 14th place on the OSU all-time tackle list … Head to Head Competition-OC#74-John Moffitt (6:04-323) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#39-P.J. Hill (5:11-243)-16 carries for 63 yards and one touchdown … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made ten of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 37 yards (3.7 ypc) and one touchdown, as his opponent completed 0 of 1 passes thrown into his area for zero yards … Made one stop of a running back for no gain, as the defense allowed 179 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries (4.60 ypc) while the opposition generated 326 total yards on 64 plays (5.09 yards per attempt).

Purdue … The Buckeyes middle linebacker continued to pile up tackle, making ten stops (5 solos) that included one behind the line of scrimmage and two pass deflections, earning his fourth Attack Force Defensive Player of the Week honors in his last five contests … Receiver Brandon Whittington had two potential receptions knocked out of his hands by Laurinaitis and he also prevented tailback Kory Sheets from getting to a Curtis Painter pass attempt in the first half … In the third quarter, the Buckeyes captain again rerouted Sheets on a third-&-10 incomplete toss, forcing Purdue to settle for a 53-yard field goal … Sheets was again prevented from catching a third-&-7 errant throw by Painter, as the Boilermakers punted the ball away on the next play late in the third stanza … Late in the final stanza, Laurinaitis slipped past center Cory Benton to take down Sheets for a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt at the Purdue 37 … Head to Head Competition-OC#78-Cory Benton (6:03-287) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#24-Kory Sheets (6:00-206)-20 carries for 67 yards, four catches for 13 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made seven of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 16 yards (2.29 ypc), as his opponent completed 3 of 9 passes thrown into his area for 21 yards … Made two third-down stops and another on fourth down, as the defense allowed 70 yards and no touchdowns on 26 carries (2.69 ypc) while the opposition generated 298 total yards on 77 plays (3.87 yards per attempt).

Michigan State … Shutting down MSU's running game was the primary task for the OSU defense and behind Laurinaitis' eleven tackles, the Spartans were limited to 52 yards on the ground. The linebacker also generated 1.5 sacks for minus 13 yards. "Our D-line did a great job of letting us fly around and make plays," Laurinaitis said … He sniffed out a screen pass to Javon Ringer, taking the tailback after only a 2-yard gain on a third-&-9 toss, forcing MSU to punt early in the opening frame … Late in the first quarter, he snuck around the edge to sack QB Brian Hoyer for a 4-yard loss … Late in the second stanza, he powered past center Joel Nitchman on third-&-5, dropping Hoyer for an 11-yard sack and forcing another Spartans punt … Record Watch: This was the middle linebacker's 14th time registering ten or more tackles in a game … Laurinaitis now has 132 tackles in 13 career games against ranked opponents, an average of 10.1 per game … His eleven tackles gave him a career total of 323, moving ahead of Randy Gradishar (320, 1971-73), Kelton Dansler (316, 1975-78) and Aaron Brown (314, 1974-77) for 11th on the school's all-time record list … Head to Head Competition-OC#65-Joel Nitchman (6:03-297) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#23-Javon Ringer (5:09-202)-16 carries for 67 yards, six catches for 19 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made ten of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 7 yards (0.7 ypc), as his opponent completed 1 of 1 passes thrown into his area for 2 yards … Made two third-down stops, as the defense allowed 52 yards and no touchdowns on 21 carries (2.48 ypc) while the opposition generated 240 total yards on 60 plays (4.00 yards per attempt).

Penn State … Laurinaitis spent most of the day trying to chase down tailback Evan Royster, making 10 of 12 tackles (2 solos) vs. the run, but the OSU offense struggled in a 13-6 loss … On the Nittany Lions' first series of the second half, he tackled receiver Derrick Williams on a reverse that netted just one yard … Talking about the tough loss to the media after the game, Laurinaitis noted, "We have to keep fighting and practice hard. There are a lot of little things that we have to look at and take care of. We'll go into the week, watch a lot of film and get ready for the last three games." … Talking about the play of the OSU defensive line, he stated, "First, Thaddeus Gibson is a great player. He has the ability to do great things. Overall, the defensive line did a great job. They had pressure on the quarter-back all night. They have matured so much and the more they grow, the more we grow as a team." … Record Watch: The middle linebacker's twelve tackles gave him 334 for his career, surpassing Mike Doss (331, 1999-2002) for tenth on the school's all-time record list … It was also the 15th time that he registered ten or more tackles in a game and it also gave him a total of 144 tackles in 14 career games against ranked opponents, an average of 10.3 per game … Head to Head Competition-OC#57-A.Q. Shipley (6:01-297) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#22-Evan Royster (6:01-212)-19 carries for 77 yards, three catches for 20 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made eleven of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 45 yards (4.09 ypc), as his opponent completed 1 of 1 passes thrown into his area for 7 yards … Made two third-down stops and three hits inside the red zone, as the defense allowed 160 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries (4.32 ypc) while the opposition generated 281 total yards on 57 plays (5.01 yards per attempt).

Northwestern … Laurinaitis posted more than ten tackles (11) for the seventh consecutive game, marking the 16th time for his career he reached double digits. He also picked off a pass, but was charged with two personal fouls that led to a Northwestern score … He was penalized first after QB Mike Kafka's 3-yard run and again on a second-&-goal run by the NU tailback, setting up Kafka's 1-yard touchdown run on the next snap … In the third stanza, Northwestern was forced to punt after Laurinaitis tackled Stephen Simmons on a third-&-17 carry that netted just 5 yards … Later in the third quarter, he jammed Simmons on an incomplete option pass thrown by Kafka … With seven minutes left in the game, the middle linebacker picked off a Kafka pass at the NU 48 … Record Watch: It marked the 16th time that Laurinaitis recorded ten or more tackles in a game … He has 155 tackles in 15 career games against ranked opponents, an average of 10.3 per game … His eleven tackles moved his career total to 346, topping Alvin Washington (345, 1977-80), Ed Thompson (338, 1974-76) and Glen Cobb (336, 1979-82) to move into seventh place on the school's all-time record list … Head to Head Competition-OC#65-Ben Burkett (6:04-289) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#25-Stephen Simmons (5:08-177)-14 carries for 34 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made ten of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 33 yards (3.3 ypc), as his opponent completed 1 of 3 passes thrown into his area for 24 yards … Made two third-down stops and two hits inside the red zone, as the defense allowed 117 yards and one touchdown on 43 carries (2.72 ypc) while the opposition generated 294 total yards on 69 plays (4.26 yards per attempt).

Illinois … Laurinaitis saw his string of double-digit tackle games snapped at seven, as he was in on eight hits (5 solos), including 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he caused a fumble, deflected a pass and registered his first QB pressure as a Buckeye … The Illini forced the middle linebacker to chase down tailback Daniel Dufrene on a pair of runs over left tackle that gained 23 and 24 yards midway through the first quarter, but the defensive captain led a swarm of white jerseys past the Illinois offensive line to take down Dufrene for a 3-yard loss early in the second quarter … He broke up a Juice Williams pass later in the first half and caused a fumble when he stripped the ball from Jason Ford on an 11-yard run, but the Illini recovered the ball. Later on that third quarter drive, Laurinaitis sacked Williams for a 4-yard loss … Talking to the media about the heavy pass rush that the Buckeyes kept on Williams throughout the game, Laurinaitis stated, "You can't be passive and wait back because they have too many weapons and too much talent. You have to attack it and blitz and get after them and not let them take it to you." … Head to Head Competition-OC#60-Ryan McDonald (6:05-296) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#22-Daniel Dufrene (5:11-201)-8 carries for 79 yards, five catches for 42 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made seven of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 65 yards (9.29 ypc), as his opponent completed 1 of 3 passes thrown into his area for zero yards … Made four third-down stops, as the defense allowed 214 yards and no touchdowns on 35 carries (6.11 ypc) while the opposition generated 455 total yards on 69 plays (6.59 yards per attempt).

Michigan … Ohio State increased their record to 14-4 in games where Laurinaitis produced at least ten tackles, as the middle linebacker closed out the regular season with twelve hits (4 solos) that included a 4-yard sack … The OSU defender saw Brandon Minor take a fourth-&-goal handoff, bounce off a Laurinatis hit and shift to the right side for a 1-yard touch-down run midway through the second quarter … He made up for that miscue in the second half, sacking QB Justin Feagin for a 4-yard loss on a third-&-6 play, forcing Michigan to punt … He chased down Michael Shaw on a third-&-12 fourth quarter carry that netted 8 yards, leading to another UM punt … Head to Head Competition-OC#50-David Molk (6:02-284) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#4-Brandon Minor (6:01-208)-14 carries for 67 yards and one touchdown … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made thirteen of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 46 yards (3.54 ypc) and one touchdown, as his opponent completed no passes thrown into his area for zero yards … Made three third-down stops and two more on fourth down, as the defense allowed 111 yards and one touchdown on 41 carries (2.71 ypc) while the opposition generated 198 total yards on 66 plays (3.00 yards per attempt).

Texas (Fiesta Bowl) … Laurinaitis finished his career in another bowl loss, as he posted nine tackles (6 solos) with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage … Early in the first quarter, the middle linebacker sniffed out a screen pass from QB Colt McCoy, taking down Jordan Shipley for a 2-yard loss. On the next snap, he rerouted tailback Chris Ogbonnaya away from McCoy's third-&-3 incomplete pass, forcing the Longhorns to punt … On the first series of the second half, he stopped Chris Johnson for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-1 run, but on a fourth-&-2 snap, Johnson picked up 2 yards and a first down before the middle linebacker could stop him. Laurinaitis was later fooled by McCoy on the QB's bootleg that resulted in a 14-yard touchdown run to end that 80-yard, 15-play series and give Texas a 10-6 lead … Asked in the post-game press conference if Texas' fast-paced, no-huddle offense threw the OSU defense off and he replied, "No, we had prepared for that. We talked to other teams throughout the year. Our coaching staff knew they try to go at different paces at different times. We were used to that. There is a few teams in the Big Ten that do it as well with Illinois, Michigan. When we played Detroit, they would hurry up and do that as well. You can see on film some plays where the defense isn't even lined up and they are going "hurry up." We had our calls in and ready to play. You just have to be ready for it." … Asked to sum up his Ohio State career after his final college game and the team captain said, "I think it has been an amazing career for all of us. We have done a lot of special things. Obviously it is not the way you want to go out. But, regardless, I think this class has done a lot of, like I said, special things, being a part of two outranked Big Ten championships, four BCS games, two Colgate Penn championships. We have done some good things, and obviously we wish we would have had this one tonight." … Talking about the team's game plan and how well he felt OSU executed in general, but also the final drive, particularly the final touchdown pass, Laurinaitis noted, "I thought we had a great game plan going in. I thought we executed very well. We did a great job the first half. Obviously you come out of the locker room, we really struggled at it all year. But you got to stop a team. The first drive out of the locker room they were able to go down and score. But you wish the defense to be put in that situation at the end of the game with a chance to win it and we didn't make the plays. They made the plays. That's all there is to it. There is no perfect call for anything. We had a chance to make a tackle. We have a chance to get to the quarterback or do this and that. We got to do it." … Head to Head Competition-OC#78-David Snow (6:04-304) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#3-Chris Ogbonnaya (6:01-224)-11 carries for 42 yards, four catches for 56 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made six of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 27 yards (4.50 ypc) and one touch-down, as his opponent completed 4 of 5 passes thrown into his area for 17 yards … Made three third-down stops and one more on fourth down, as the defense allowed 72 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries (2.57 ypc) while the opposition generated 486 total yards on 87 plays (5.59 yards per attempt).

2007 Season

Earned All-American first-team honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp Foundation, Associated Press and American Football Coaches Association … All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick and chosen the league's Defensive Player of the Year … Also named Academic All-Big Ten … Recipient of the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker, joining Andy Katzenmoyer (1997) as the only Buckeyes to ever win that award … Was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Nagurski Award, Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award … Selected for the Bill Willis Award, given to the team's Most Valuable Player … Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week vs. Washington and Wisconsin, adding Attack Force Player of the Week honors vs. Washington, Minnesota and Wisconsin … Started all thirteen games at middle linebacker, serving as defensive captain … Led the team for the second-straight year with 121 tackles (51 solos), ranking sixth in the Big Ten with an average of 9.31 tackles per game … Registered five sacks for minus 29 yards and 8.5 stops for losses of 34 yards … Recovered a fumble and deflected one pass … Gained 16 yards on two interception returns, helping the team lead the nation in total defense (233.0 ypg), scoring defense (12.77 ppg) and pass defense (150.15 ypg) while ranking third in rush defense (82.25 ypg) … Made 85 of his tackles vs. the run, as he stopped opposing ball carriers for no gain on three attempts, seeing the opposition gain 243 yards (2.86 ypc), twelve first downs and two touchdowns through his assigned territory, as he delivered six third-down stops and one more on fourth down vs. the ground attack … Teams completed 35 passes for 256 yards (7.31 yards per pass completion/5.82 yards per attempt) into his area.

2007 Game Analysis

Youngstown State … Laurinaitis opened the season with seven tackles, but he was also charged with pass interference midway through the third quarter … Head to Head Competition-OC#51-Brian Mellott (6:03-282) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#34-Jabari Scott (5:10-197)-9 carries for 26 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made five of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 15 yards … Made one third-down stop, as the defense allowed 85 yards and no touchdowns on 34 carries (2.50 ypc) while the opposition generated 176 total yards on 53 plays (3.32 yards per attempt).

Akron … The middle linebacker added another seven tackles, including a 10-yard sack … In the first quarter he jammed Dennis Kennedy at the line of scrimmage, preventing the tailback from getting to a third-&-13 pass, forcing YSU to punt early in the first quarter … In the third quarter, he snuck into the backfield to sack QB Chris Jacqueman for a 10-yard loss … Head to Head Competition-OC#68-Mike Schepp (6:04-317) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#3-Dennis Kennedy (5:11-217)-8 carries for 8 yards, three catches for minus 9 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made three of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to minus 4 yards … Made three third-down stops, as the defense allowed 3 yards and no touchdowns on 19 carries (0.16 ypc) while the opposition generated 69 total yards on 51 plays (1.35 yards per attempt).

Washington … Laurinaitis picked off a pair of passes for 16 yards in returns, adding eight tackles (4 solos) with a 5-yard sack … After chasing down QB Jake Locker on a 20-yard bootleg to the OSU 9, the middle linebacker then intercepted the passer's third-&-goal toss at the OSU 11 for a 2-yard return … On Washington's first possession for the second half, he sacked Locker on third-&-15 for a 5-yard loss … Later in the third quarter, he picked off a third-&-5 Locker pass and returned the ball 14 yards, setting up a Buckeyes 23-yard field goal … Head to Head Competition-OC#58-Juan Garcia (6:03-317) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#9-Louis Rankin (6:01-205)-14 carries for 42 yards and one touchdown, one catch for 41 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made six of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 30 yards and one touchdown … Made four third-down stops, as the defense allowed 142 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries (4.18 ypc) while the opposition generated 346 total yards on 71 plays (4.87 yards per attempt).

Northwestern … The Buckeyes did not allow the Wildcats to gain any yards on 33 carries, as Laurinaitis delivered seven tackles with a 5-yard sack … He sacked QB C.J. Bacher on third-&-7, forcing the Wildcats to punt after their first possession for the game … Head to Head Competition-OC#50-Trevor Rees (6:02-282) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#29-Omar Conteh (5:11-217)-15 carries for 28 yards, one catch for minus 4 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made five of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 8 yards … Made three third-down stops, as the defense allowed zero yards and no touchdowns on 33 carries (0.00 ypc) while the opposition generated 120 total yards on 66 plays (1.82 yards per attempt).

Minnesota … Laurinaitis earned Attack Force Player of the Game honors after posting a then season-high fourteen tackles (6 solos), assisting on three stops behind the line of scrimmage … Tailback Duane Bennett was in for a long day, as far as the OSU linebacker was concerned, as Laurinaitis first took down the runner on a third-&-10 swing pass that netted just 5 yards, forcing the Gophers to punt late in the first frame … After stopping a potential touchdown after making a diving tackle of QB Adam Weber at the OSU 3 after a 9-yard bootleg on fourth-&-1, the middle linebacker stuffed Bennett for a 1-yard loss on the next snap early in the second quarter … In the third quarter, Bennett was again chased down by Laurinaitis in the backfield and later in that stanza, the Buckeye caught Bennett from behind for a 2-yard loss at the Minnesota 8 … Head to Head Competition-OC#77-Tony Brinkhaus (6:03-299) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#22-Duane Bennett (5:09-197)-16 carries for 34 yards, four catches for 39 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made ten of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 32 yards … Made one third-down stop and another on fourth down, as the defense allowed 45 yards and no touchdowns on 29 carries (1.55 ypc) while the opposition generated 277 total yards on 73 plays (3.79 yards per attempt).

Purdue … For the third time in their last five games, the Buckeyes held their opponent to under 5 yards rushing, as Laurinaitis posted only five tackles with a pass deflection, but two of his stops killed scoring drives … He deflected a third-&-8 toss by Curtis Painter, forcing Purdue to punt early in the second quarter … On the Boilermakers' next series, he jammed Kory Sheets at the line of scrimmage on a fourth-&-1 toss intended for the tail-back … Head to Head Competition-OC#68-Robbie Powell (6:05-307) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#24-Kory Sheets (6:00-196)-7 carries for 20 yards, three catches for 9 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made three of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 12 yards … Made one third-down stop and another on fourth down, as the defense allowed 4 yards and no touchdowns on 17 carries (0.23 ypc) while the opposition generated 272 total yards on 77 plays (3.53 yards per attempt).

Kent State … The OSU defensive captain was held to just four tackles, but one stopped Eugene Jarvis for no gain on a second quarter run near midfield … He sat out the second half when he suffered a right hip pointer … Head to Head Competition-OC#70-Josh Perry (6:02-297) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#6-Eugene Jarvis (5:05-170)-16 carries for 84 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made four of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 19 yards, as the defense allowed 161 yards and no touchdowns on 48 carries (3.35 ypc) while the opposition generated 223 total yards on 63 plays (3.54 yards per attempt).

Michigan State … Laurinaitis followed with twelve tackles (2 solos), including a 2-yard sack of QB Brian Hoyer in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition-OC#54-John Masters (6:04-288) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#30-Jehuu Caulcrick (6:00-259)-4 carries for 9 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made twelve of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 31 yards, as the defense allowed 59 yards and no touchdowns on 28 carries (2.11 ypc) while the opposition generated 185 total yards on 52 plays (3.56 yards per attempt).

Penn State … Laurinaitis was held to a career-low two assisted tackles as a starter … Head to Head Competition-OC#57-A.Q. Shipley (6:01-293) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#20-Rodney Kinlaw (5:09-201)-14 carries for 81 yards and one touchdown, two catches for 8 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made two of his stops vs. the pass, as the opposition caught both passes for 20 yards. The defense allowed 139 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries (6.04 ypc) and the opposition generated 263 total yards on 49 plays (5.37 yards per attempt).

Wisconsin … After producing a career-low two tackles as a starter the previous week, the middle linebacker registered a career-high nineteen tackles (9 solos), along with a 7-yard sack, two stops behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble … Early in the fourth quarter, the middle linebacker forced the Badgers to punt after tackling Zach Brown for no gain on a rushing attempt at the Wisconsin 20. Punter Ken DeBauche mishandled an errant snap on the next play and Laurinaitis took the opponent down for a 2-yard loss … On Wisconsin's next series, the Buckeye recovered a fumble by Brown on a carry at the UW 16 … On the Badgers' ensuing possession, he chased down Travis Beckum after the tight end totaled 18 yards on a third-&-10 catch. On the next play, he sacked QB Tyler Donovan for minus 7 yards and then jammed Brown sat the line of scrimmage, preventing Brown from getting to Donovan's second-&-17 toss … Wisconsin punt returner Marc Randle El was leveled by Laurinaitis after a 4-yard return with 4:04 left in the game … Record Watch: The middle linebacker's career-high 19 tackles topped his previous game-best of 15 hits vs. Florida in the 2007 BCS Championship Game … Head to Head Competition-OC#65-Marcus Coleman (6:06-302) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#30-Zach Brown (5:11-198)-20 carries for 63 yards, one catch for 8 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made 12 of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 25 yards … Made four third-down stops and two more on fourth down, as the defense allowed 12 yards and no touchdowns on 37 carries (0.32 ypc) while the opposition generated 281 total yards on 67 plays (4.19 yards per attempt).

Illinois … Laurinaitis registered his fourth double-digit tackle performance for the season, as he tallied twelve hits (3 solos) and assisted on a stop behind the line of scrimmage … He leveled All-American tailback Rashard Mendenhall at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a mid first quarter rushing attempt and did it again on an early second quarter carry at the Illini 25 … Later in the fourth quarter, he took down tailback Daniel Dufrene for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt at mid field … Head to Head Competition-OC#60-Ryan McDonald (6:05-302) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#5-Rashaerd Mendenhall (5:11-210)-26 carries for 8820 yards, one catch for 4 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made twelve of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 41 yards … The defense allowed 260 yards and no touchdowns on 51 carries (5.10 ypc) while the opposition generated 400 total yards on 73 plays (5.48 yards per attempt).

Michigan … The Buckeye defender collected six tackles (2 solos), assisting on one stop for a loss, as he leveled tailback Mike Hart in the backfield for minus one yard on Michigan's first play in the second half … Head to Head Competition-OC#57-Adam Kraus (6:06-296) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#20-Mike Hart (5:09-196)-18 carries for 44 yards … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made three of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 10 yards … Made one third-down stop, as the defense allowed 15 yards and no touchdowns on 24 carries (0.63 ypc) while the opposition generated 91 total yards on 61 plays (1.49 yards per attempt).

Louisiana State (BCS National Championship Game) … In a 38-24 loss, the Buckeyes middle linebacker delivered 18 tackles (12 solos), including ten stops in the first half … He chased down receiver Early Doucet on a 4-yard reverse midway through the first quarter … He was charged with a face mask penalty when he tackled Demetrius Byrd on a 20-yard catch and the 15-yards tacked on to the play set up LSU's 13-yard scoring toss from Matt Flynn to Richard Dickson two plays later … Another Tigers touchdown came when Brandon LaFell caught Flynn's third-&-5 pass for a 10-yard score right in front of Laurinaitis on LSU's next possession … The linebacker's long day continued, as he was hit with a personal foul after tackling tailback Jacob Hester on a 1-yard run over right end late in the second quarter … He would stop a late fourth quarter series by tackling Doucet after the receiver gained 3 yards on a third-&-4 reception at the OSU 44 … Head to Head Competition-OC#74-Brett Helms (6:02-283) … Rush Coverage Assignment: HB#18-Jacob Hester (5:11-198)-21 carries for 86 yards and one touchdown … Defensive Impact-Laurinaitis made ten of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 24 yards and a touchdown, as he also allowed one scoring reception and had a penalty set up another touchdown catch … Made three third-down stops and had three stops inside the red zone, as the defense allowed 152 yards and one touchdown on 49 carries (3.10 ypc) while the opposition generated 326 total yards on 76 plays (4.29 yards per attempt).

2006 Season

All-American first-team selection by the Walter Camp Foundation, The NFL Draft Report and the Football Writers Association of America … Named All-Big Ten Conference first-team and was the recipient of the Nagurski Award, given to the nation's best defensive player … Finalist for the Butkus and Bednarik Awards as a true sophomore … Added Randy Gradishar Linebacker Award (team award) accolades … Started all thirteen games at middle linebacker, leading the team with 115 tackles (53 solos), including four sacks for minus 40 yards and 8.5 stops for losses of 44 yards … His average of 8.85 tackles per game ranked fourth in the conference and 30th in the nation … Caused three fumbles, deflected two passes and paced the Buckeyes with five interceptions for 56 yards in returns … Part of a unit that ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (12.77 ppg), 12th in total defense (280.46 ypg) and 15th in rush defense (98.31 ypg).

2006 Game Analysis

Northern Illinois … In his first career start, Laurinaitis posted four tackles.

Texas … Had his first double-digit tackle game, delivering thirteen tackles (10 solos) with a pair of forced fumbles, a 25-yard interception return, one pass deflection and a stop behind the line of scrimmage, earning Big Ten Conference Player of the Week honors.

Cincinnati … The middle linebacker followed with a 2-yard interception return, an 8-yard sack and nine hits (3 solos).

Penn State … Laurinaitis intercepted a Michael Robinson pass for a 13-yard return, as he also came up with ten tackles and an assisted stop behind the line of scrimmage.

Iowa … For the fourth consecutive game, Laurinaitis had an interception, good for an 11-yard return, as he also made five tackles and a 10-yard sack.

Bowling Green … Registered nine tackles (3 solos) and a stop for a 1-yard loss.

Michigan State … Had another nine tackles (4 solos), as he sacked QB Drew Stanton for minus 16 yards and had two stops behind the line of scrimmage.

Minnesota … Produced eleven tackles (5 solos) that included a 6-yard sack.

Illinois … Picked off his fifth pass for the season and was credited with eleven tackles (3 solos), including one behind the line of scrimmage.

Michigan … Closed out the regular season with a nine-tackle (2 solos) performance.

Florida (BCS Championship Game) … Laurinaitis was in on a then career-high fifteen tackles (10 solos), as he also deflected a pass.

2005 Season

Played in all 12 games as a true freshman, seeing action as a reserve strong-side outside linebacker and on the special team coverage units … Finished with nine tackles (3 solos), assisting on one stop behind the line of scrimmage.

2005 Game Analysis

Laurinaitis recorded his first career tackle vs. Miami (Oh.), adding one more stop in each of the San Diego State, Illinois and Michigan games … Had another tackle behind the line of scrimmage vs. Northwestern … Posted a pair of tackles in each of the Indiana and Minnesota contests.

Injury Report

2007: Sat out the second half of the Kent State game (10/13) after Laurinaitis suffered a hip pointer when he got kicked in the right hip.

Agility Tests

4.76 in the 40-yard dash … 1.59 10-yard dash … 2.75 20-yard dash … 4.24 20-yard shuttle … 6.93 three-cone drill … 33-inch vertical jump … 9'7" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times … 31 5/8-inch arm length … 10-inch hands.

High School

Attended Plymouth Wayzata (Minn.) High School … Named Minnesota's "Defensive Mr. Football" as a senior, going on to record 193 tackles, five sacks and 28 stops behind the line of scrimmage … That year, he led the team to the Minnesota Class 5A state championship game … During his junior campaign, Laurinaitis was credited with 160 tackles, earning All-State and All-Conference accolades … In addition to his exploits on the football field, he also excelled in hockey, serving as that team's captain during his senior year … Led the hockey squad to the state tournament in 2004 and was considered to be a possible second- or third-round pick in the NHL draft, if he had decided to enter the draft after high school.

Personal

Communications major, earning Big Ten Conference academic honors … Son of Julie and Joe Laurinaitis (pronounced Larr-en-EYE-tiss) … Father is a world renowned wrestler, who competed as the "Animal" in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the tag team called the Road Warriors (Legion of Doom) … Born 12/03/86 … Resides in Hamel, Minnesota.

 
 
Latest News
04/28/2009 - A closer look at the Rams' picks: Round 2/35 -- James Laurinaitis, MLB, 6-2, 244, Ohio State...Instincts and intelligence are outstanding, registering 130 tackles last season. Lacks tremendous speed, but makes up for it with ability to flow to the ball.

04/27/2009 - 2009 NFL Draft Grades: St. Louis Rams: B- :Like the Detroit Lions, the Rams started off strong, gaining talent at the critical left tackle, middle linebacker and safety positions early with Jason Smith, James Laurinaitis and Bradley Fletcher. As the draft went on, however, the Rams' choices were increasingly odd. Dorell Scott could be a versatile swingman on the defensive line, but there were better options at the skill positions late than the Rams received with Brooks Foster, Keith Null and Chris Ogbonnaya. - Rob Rang, The SportsXchange, NFLDraftScout.com

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