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December 4, 2008

First of many

As two of the top defenders in the country, Ohio State's tandem of James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins are sure to make more than one All-American list this season. The first one rolled in on Thursday and the two Buckeyes were among those selected by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945 and are one of five College Football All-America Teams recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in determining consensus All-Americans.

This was the first selection to the AFCA All-America team for Jenkins but the third straight for Laurinaitis, who becomes just the eighth three-time All-American in Ohio State history and first since safety Mike Doss accomplished the feat from 2000-02.

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

Three-year All-Americans at Ohio State:

Chic Harley, 1916-17-19
Wes Fesler, 1928-29-30
Lew Hinchman, 1930-31-32
Merle Wendt, 1934-35-36
Archie Griffin, 1973-74-75
Tom Skladany, 1974-75-76
Mike Doss, 2000-01-02
James Laurinaitis, 2006-07-08


OSU's only two-time captain under coach Jim Tressel, Laurinaitis led the Buckeyes in tackles for the third straight season with 121 this season. He also recorded four sacks, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass, none of which would have been possible without his decision to pass up the NFL and return for his senior season in Columbus.

"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," Laurinaitis said. "Our team has made that happen for guys like Malcolm (Jenkins) and me. Having Mike Doss (Ohio State's last three-time All-American, 2000-02) around the building has been a constant reminder to me to keep pushing and improving. I'm honored to be among that group, and honored to be listed among the other guys on the All-America team."

The other linebackers selected to the "Coach's All-America Team" were Rey Maualuga of USC and Brandon Spikes of Florida; while Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith, Tennessee's Eric Berry and Alabama's Rashad Johnson joined Jenkins in the secondary.

Jenkins led OSU's eighth-ranked secondary this season with 54 tackles, three interceptions, nine breakups, three forced fumbles and two blocked punts. He is one of three finalists - along with Berry and Taylor Mays of USC - for the Thorpe Award given annually to the nation's top defensive back.

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

The other All-American teams recognized by the NCAA will be selected by the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF).


2008 AFCA Coaches' All-America Team

Offense
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
WR Michael Crabtree* 6-3 208 So. Texas Tech Mike Leach Dallas, Texas (Carter)
WR Dez Bryant 6-2 215 So. Oklahoma St. Mike Gundy Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin)
TE Chase Coffman 6-6 255 Sr. Missouri Gary Pinkel Peculiar, Mo. (Raymore-Peculiar)
OL Andre Smith 6-4 330 Jr. Alabama Nick Saban Birmingham, Ala. (Huffman)
OL Brandon Carter 6-7 350 Jr. Texas Tech Mike Leach Longview, Texas (Spring Hill)
C Antoine Caldwell 6-3 305 Sr. Alabama Nick Saban Montgomery, Ala. (Lee)
OL Michael Oher 6-5 318 Sr. Mississippi Houston Nutt Memphis, Tenn. (Briarcrest Christian)
OL Andy Levitre 6-3 317 Sr. Oregon St. Mike Riley Ben Lomond, Calif. (San Lorenzo Valley)
QB Graham Harrell 6-3 205 Sr. Texas Tech Mike Leach Ennis, Texas (Ennis)
RB Knowshon Moreno 5-11 208 So. Georgia Mark Richt Belford, N.J. (Middletown South)
RB Shonn Greene 5-11 235 Jr. Iowa Kirk Ferentz Sicklerville, N.J. (Milford Acad. [Conn.])

Defense
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL Brian Orakpo 6-4 260 Sr. Texas Mack Brown Houston, Texas (Lamar)
DL Terrence Cody 6-5 365 Jr. Alabama Nick Saban Fort Myers, Fla. (Riverdale)
DL George Selvie* 6-4 242 Jr. South Florida Jim Leavitt Pensacola, Fla. (Pine Forest)
DL Michael Johnson 6-7 260 Sr. Georgia Tech Paul Johnson Selma, Ala. (Dallas County)
LB James Laurinaitis* 6-3 240 Sr. Ohio St. Jim Tressel Hamel, Minn. (Wayzata)
LB Rey Maualuga 6-2 260 Sr. USC Pete Carroll Eureka, Calif. (Eureka)
LB Brandon Spikes 6-3 245 Jr. Florida Urban Meyer Shelby, N.C. (Crest)
DB Eric Berry 5-11 195 So. Tennessee Phil Fulmer Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside)
DB Rashad Johnson 6-0 186 Sr. Alabama Nick Saban Sulligent, Ala. (Sulligent)
DB Malcolm Jenkins 6-1 202 Sr. Ohio St. Jim Tressel Piscataway, N.J. (Piscataway)
DB Alphonso Smith 5-9 190 Sr. Wake Forest Jim Grobe Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee)

Specialists
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P Kevin Huber 6-1 220 Sr. Cincinnati Brian Kelly Cincinnati, Ohio (McNicholas)
PK Louie Sakoda 5-9 178 Sr. Utah Kyle Whittingham San Jose, Calif. (Branham)
AP Percy Harvin 5-11 195 Jr. Florida Urban Meyer Virginia Beach, Va. (Landstown)

*-2007 All-American


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