James Laurinaitis Ohio State Buckeyes

James Laurinaitis Elevated To Ohio State Linebackers Coach

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has finalized his coaching staff with the promotion of James Laurinaitis from graduate assistant to linebackers coach. The university has confirmed the move to Buckeye Huddle.

Laurinaitis joined Day’s staff last year as a GA and worked with the Buckeye linebackers. Now he will be one of the NCAA’s allotted 10 full-time assistant coaches. The promotion also means that Laurinaitis can be out on the road recruiting, which he could not do while OSU already had 10 full-time assistant coaches.

Laurinaitis was actually out recruiting over the past month because OSU was under the 10-coach threshold. He has been lauded as an outstanding recruiter at both OSU and Notre Dame, where he was in 2022 as a graduate assistant.

Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has been listed as the Buckeyes’ linebackers coach in each of the past two seasons, but the position has been buoyed each of the past two years by graduate assistants handling many of the coaching duties.

In addition to the elevation of Laurinaitis, Day also announced the following details on his coaching staff:

  • Tim Walton has been promoted to assistant head coach/secondary and cornerbacks coach, and he has received a two-year contract extension through the 2026 season;
  • Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles received a two-year contract extension through the 2026 season;
  • Associate head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson has a new two-year contract through the 2025 season;
  • Tight ends coach Keenan Bailey has earned a one-year contract extension through the 2025 season; and
  • Tony Johnson has joined the staff as senior analyst.

Laurinaitis is of course best known for his four years at Ohio State from 2005 to 2008 where he was a three-time All-American middle linebacker, as well as the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as the nation’s best defensive player, and the 2007 and 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

The addition of Laurinaitis caps an eventful winter for Ryan Day and his coaching staff, as he parted ways with quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis, safeties coach Perry Eliano, and special teams coordinator Parker Fleming, replacing them with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, former Indiana co-defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri as safeties coach, and Laurinaitis.

There was also the brief layover of former Houston Texans and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, who was hired as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, but left just a few weeks into his tenure to accept the head coaching position at Boston College.

There will still be additional duties doled out — like special teams, but for now Day has his assistant coaching staff set.

Quarterbacks/Offensive Coordinator – Chip Kelly
Running Backs – Tony Alford
Wide Receivers/Co-Offensive Coordinator – Brian Hartline
Tight Ends – Keenan Bailey
Offensive Line – Justin Frye
Defensive Line – Larry Johnson
Linebackers – James Laurinaitis
Cornerbacks – Tim Walton
Safeties – Matt Guerrieri
Defensive Coordinator – Jim Knowles

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