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James Laurinaitis

Matt Gutridge's picture
July 28, 2014 at 7:50am

To celebrate 33 days until the start of Ohio State's season I put together a little piece on the Little Aniamal. To read about Ralph Wolf, Bob White, Pete Johnson  and the other 31 players to wear No. 33 go here.

If you missed the bombshell that Jason Priestas dropped on us about a fellow 11W member, go here. 

Laurinaitis is Ohio State's most decorated linebacker. Does that make him the best?

Laurinaitis is Ohio State's most decorated linebacker. Does that make him the best?

James Laurinaitis, LB (2005-08)
1986 (Minneapolis)
High School: Wayzata

Ohio State
The Buckeyes went 43-8 with Laurinaitis on the team.
2005 Big Ten Title.
2006 Big Ten Title.
2007 Big Ten Title.
2008 Big Ten Title.
2006 Defeated Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.
2006 Defeated No. 2 Texas 24-7 at Austin.
Went 4-0 against That Team.

Laurinaitis with the Lott Trophy.

Laurinaitis with the Lott Trophy.

2007 Captain.
2008 Captain.
2006 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
2007 Dick Butkus Award.
2007 Jack Lambert Award.
2008 Lott Trophy.
2008 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
2006 All-American.
2006 All-Big Ten.
2006 Academic All-Big Ten.
2007 All-American.
2007 All-Big Ten.
2007 Academic All-Big Ten.
2008 All-American.
2008 All-Big Ten.
2008 Academic All-Big Ten.
2009 NLF All-Rookie.
2009 Rams Rookie of the Year.

James Laurinaitis' Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

The Little Animal led the Buckeyes in tackles in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The Little Animal led the Buckeyes in tackles in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The most decorated linebacker in Ohio State history, James Laurinaitis was a three-time consensus All-American while playing on four Big Ten championship teams. Twice helping the Buckeyes to the BCS championship game (and setting a championship game record with 18 tackles vs. LSU), he won the Bronko Nagurski Award for the nation’s most outstanding defensive player as a sophomore, took home the Butkus Award as America’s top linebacker as a junior, and became Ohio State’s first-ever winner of both the Lott Trophy and the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award as a senior. He was a finalist 12 times for national awards during that three-year period.



Hello Mr. McCoy.

Leading Ohio State in tackles as a sophomore, junior and senior, Laurinaitis finished his career with 375 total tackles, seventh-best in Buckeye history. Selected as the preseason and postseason Big Ten defensive player of the year for 2007 and 2008, Laurinaitis was a two-time team captain for a defensive unit that led the nation in total defense in 2007 and never ranked lower than 15th nationally throughout his career.

Despite projections of a high draft status after his junior campaign, the Hamel, Minn., native returned for his senior season, helping the Buckeyes put together their record fifth-straight win over Michigan. An academic all-Big Ten selection, Lauriniaitis was tireless in community service, public speaking and outreach. He was drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and graduated in March of his senior year.

Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide and Wikipedia


The Game

123 days until The Game.

Show All Comments

Matt Gutridge's picture

Let me know if there are any errors.

Laurinaitis may, or may not, be the best linebacker in Ohio State's history. One thing that cannot be argued is that he was 4-0 against That Team.

Like father like son:

Like father like son.
11UrbzAndSpices's picture

Little Animal spelled wrong in very first sentence, come on man!

"Quit skipping leg day bro" - Dr James Andrews

-1 HS
Matt Gutridge's picture

Thanks for letting me know about the error. It is now fixed. Copy editor will be punished.

AndyVance's picture

LOVE this photo. Very cool father-son deal.

Is there any doubt that Ohio State is Linebacker U? Nope, didn't think so.

+4 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Not a pro wrestling fan these days, but growing up in Virginia I was a huge NWA fan - and the Road Warriors were awesome.

Little did I know the connection that would have years later for Ohio State football.

+2 HS
rosycheeks's picture

123 days until I personally witness my first beatdown of Michigan. But let's not get in a hurry -- go Buckeyes, sink Navy!

+4 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Li'l Animal was awesome. Probably a great forum topic on who the best linebacker ever would be...

Back in the day I lived on W. 10th Ave. There were outdoor basketball courts on W. 11th across from the dorms. Went to play some pick-up ball one afternoon and Pete Johnson was there goofing around - he was all of 6' and probably 250 lbs. or more, a very large man! I was blown away when he jammed it from a standstill - amazing athlete!

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Darn you Remy - now I will be late going to work --- oh by the way - thanks for posting. His passion for the game and desire to win willed the Buckeyes to win on the field at times.

+3 HS
Curt Heinrichs's picture

I was hoping for a Butler By'not'e post. I guess Lil Animal surpassed him by a tad, although both had equally difficult last names to spell/punctuate. 

+1 HS