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January 14, 2008

It's official: Laurinaitis to return

COLUMBUS, Ohio - All-America linebacker James Laurinaitis has decided to stay at Ohio State for his senior year, he announced today.

A statement from Laurinaitis:

"After a long thought process and strategic evaluation of the pros and cons of this decision with my close family and friends, I've decided to stay at Ohio State for my senior season to complete my schoolwork and football career.

"I know I can still improve as a player, and I know there is still much more to me and for the Buckeyes to accomplish. My love for this university, my love for the people of the state of Ohio, and my love for teammates and friends is so great that I want stay a Buckeye for another season. You only get to do this once, so I want to take full advantage.

"There are a lot of things that money can't buy, and some of those things are the experiences of a senior season. Going through those things with my teammates next year is what I look forward to the most.

"I received a lot of great advice from those close to me: my parents, close friends, former players and through prayer.

"I knew the right decision for me was to follow my heart and figure out what's important to me right now. That's the decision to remain at Ohio State, have a great senior season, and graduate with my degree in communications next year. I am very satisfied with that decision."

Laurinaitis, a two-year consensus All-American, won the 2007 Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and the 2006 Nagurski Award as the top defensive player in college football. A finalist for the Lombardi, Lott, Nagurski and Bednarik awards this season, the 2007 Big Ten defensive player of the year set a BCS championship game record with 18 tackles vs. LSU. The junior captain from Hamel, Minn., led the Buckeyes with 121 tackles for the season.


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