Laurinaitis Joins Select Company

James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins were named All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association on Thursday, allowing Laurinaitis to join the company of some of the best Buckeyes of all time.

Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis represent Ohio State on the American Football Coaches Association All-America team released Thursday, and that means Laurinaitis has made history.

He earned the same nod from the AFCA last season and from the Walter Camp as well as Football Writers Association of America in both 2006 and '07. Those three organizations along with the Associated Press and Sporting News are the five considered by the NCAA for its consensus All-America compilation, meaning Laurinaitis is Ohio State's eighth three-time All-American.

The senior from Hamel, Min., is the first Buckeye linebacker to receive such a distinction.

"It's an unbelievable blessing to think of being a three-year All-American," Laurinaitis said in a statement released by the university. "I thank God every day for the amazing blessings that have happened in my life."

After 12 games, Laurinaitis leads the Buckeyes in tackles (121) for a third straight season. He has 366 stops for his career, a total that is seventh in school history.

He is tied for the team lead with 4.0 sacks and had 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions en route to being named Big Ten defensive player of the year for a second consecutive season after passing up a chance to enter the NFL draft last spring.

"When I decided to come back after last season, I knew honors like this would not be a given, but would have to be earned again," he said. "Our team has made that happen for guys like Malcolm and me."

The only other Buckeye to primarily play defense and be named a three-time All-American is Mike Doss, a safety who was so honored from 2000-02. Other three-time All-Americans from Ohio State are halfback Chic Harley (1916-17-19), end Wes Fesler (1928-30), halfback Lew Hinchman (1930-32), end Merle Wendt (1934-36), tailback Archie Griffin (1973-75) and kicker Tom Skladany (1974-76).

Doss spent some time with the 2008 Buckeyes after five years in the National Football League.

"Having Mike Doss around the building has been a constant reminder to me to keep pushing and improving," Laurinaitis said. "I'm honored to be among that group, and honored to be listed among the other guys on the All-America team."

Laurinaitis won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker last season and the Nagurski Award in 2006 as the nation's best defensive player.

Meanwhile, Jenkins earned his first AFCA All-America selection. He was a second-team All-American in the eyes of the AP and Walter Camp organizations last season and also passed up the chance to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

This season he has already been named first-team All-Big Ten for a third consecutive season (as was Laurinaitis) and is a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.

"This is a great honor for me personally and for the great tradition of Ohio State football," Jenkins said. "It's these types of experiences that made me want to come back for my senior season. I'm certainly glad to be recognized in such fashion and glad James is also on the team. That's an excellent tribute to our defense and coaches."

Jenkins is Ohio State's first All-America cornerback since Antoine Winfield, who was so honored in 1997 and '98. The latter season he became Ohio State's only winner of the Thorpe.

With the latest honor for Laurinaitis, Ohio State has had an All-American at that position for five consecutive seasons. A.J. Hawk was so honored in 2004 and '05.

Thirteen Buckeyes have been named AFCA All-Americans multiple times, a figure that leads the nation.

Ohio State, with 56 AFCA All-America selections for 42 players, trails only Oklahoma (59 for 51) in that category.

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