Larimore Looking For Pro Suitor

Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore was a four-year contributor, but there's no guarantee he'll make it to the next level. He's giving it his best shot, though, and did his best to turn heads at last week's OSU Pro Day. He talked about his performance and his hopes of playing on Sundays afterward.

Dexter Larimore wanted to do his part at Ohio State's March 10 Pro Day to look like an NFL player.

If he was going for Brett Keisel, he hit the mark.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive linemen gained notoriety for his prodigious beard during the last NFL season as his team made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

When he worked out for the assembled scouts, Larimore looked like he was trying to emulate Keisel. The defensive tackle could have been mistaken for a lumberjack, sporting a scruffy beard that he said he'd been working on for at least two months and said he plans to keep for the indefinite future.

"That's a good question," he said when asked when he might shave. "I'm not positive yet. I think Cam (Heyward) is having another pro day the 30th so I might keep it until then."

As for whether he would take part in that event at Ohio State, Larimore answered in the affirmative.

"As much as I can," he said. "Anytime I can get in front of scouts, I'm there."

Anything Larimore can do to catch a scout's eye is important because playing in the NFL would be the completion of a dream for the Merrillville, Ind., native. Though he developed a reputation among writers one of the most loquacious Buckeyes, a unique thinker who came to OSU with experience as a sculptor and artist, Larimore says there's no doubt his lifelong goal has been to play football on Sundays.

"It's really important," he said. "It's really been my dream since I was a kid. When I was growing up the teacher said, 'Why don't you draw what you want to be?' People were drawing firemen, those kinds of things, and I would draw myself as an NFL player. That's what I've always wanted to be since I was 4 years old, so it's been one of my dreams and as a person and as an individual I want to be able to say I accomplished my lifelong dream."

He said he didn't always picture himself as a defensive tackle, though.

"I don't think I did draw myself as a D-tackle," he said with a laugh. "That kind of got filled in as I grew and stuff like that. I think I was a running back or something, but it became unrealistic at about 7."

Larimore ended up a 6-3, 260-pounder as a senior in high school, and he had the skills to make himself a three-star prospect and the No. 60 player at his position in the class of 2006. He picked Ohio State over a host of other Big Ten schools, including Indiana and Michigan.

After redshirting his first year, Larimore started to make an impact in 2007, finishing with 16 tackles and a sack at Michigan. He had 15 tackles in spot duty in '08 and made another sack vs. Michigan then looked to be rounding into form early in 2009 before suffering a knee injury that robbed him of four contests. He finished with 20 tackles.

During his senior season, Larimore was one of the spokesmen for the defense while posting career-high 40 tackles to go with 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks – including two in the Sugar Bowl.

While he played a nose tackle role during his final seasons at OSU, the 6-2, 310-pounder wanted to show he could do more than that during his Pro Day workout.

"I think a lot of people came in there thinking that I was more of a slower, heavier defensive tackle, and I think I proved a lot of people wrong with my feet and showed that I wasn't just a true nose tackle," he said. "I do still have some athleticism out there."

He finished the day with a solid 40-yard dash time – at least for a 300-pounder – of 5.16 seconds. He also did 32 reps on the bench press and looked agile while doing drills, prompting defensive back Tyler Moeller to call him the MVP of the day on his website. That was a focus of Larimore, who worked with the OSU strength staff on agility and explosiveness leading up to the workouts.

All in all, Larimore said he felt he performed well after not being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

"It's not like, 'Oh, he didn't go to the combine, now he can't get drafted.' I still had an opportunity here today and I took full advantage of my opportunity," he said. "I feel pretty good. I think I did really well for how much I weigh and kind of what I came into it knowing that I was going to do. I think I did very well for myself."

Soon enough, he'll be done at Ohio State – even if there's no job to go to in the NFL. Either way, he said he's grateful to the school for the opportunity he had.

"(I'll miss it) a lot," he said. "It's definitely been a place that I've grown as a person, as an individual, and then you leave here, it's always sad. But life goes on and you have to move on."

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