Laurinaitis Promotion Resonates With Key Recruiting Targets

Ohio State finalized its coaching staff on Thursday afternoon, announcing several contract extensions and, most importantly, the promotion of James Laurinaitis to linebackers coach. The former Ohio State All-American had been working with the linebackers since returning to the program as a graduate assistant, but the latest promotion makes him one of the 10 allowed on-field assistants and will allow him get on the road this spring to recruit at high schools across the nation.

Laurinaitis has played a key role in linebacker recruiting for the Buckeyes since joining the staff, but the added responsibilities and the release of the shackles of only being able to recruit on campus should be significant.

A couple of notable Ohio State linebacker targets were excited by the news.

“That’s big time,” said four-star linebacker Elijah Melendez. “I’m happy for (Laurinaitis).”

The Kissimmee (FL) Osceola star has an early verbal commitment to Miami (FL) but Laurinaitis and the Buckeyes continue to pursue. Laurinaitis stopped by the school in January when he was serving as a temporary on-field assistant. He’ll certainly be back in the spring, and the Buckeyes remain a contender as they trip to flip Melendez.

“I’m just playing my recruitment out,” Melendez added. “I’m gonna go see Ohio State again for sure.”

In perhaps more urgent news, four-star Florida linebacker Tarvos ‘T.J.’ Alford is announcing his college decision at the end of March. The Buckeyes are on the short list and Alford and Laurinaitis have built a close relationship.

“It’s great,” Alford told of the news. “I’m happy for him. I feel like he will take the linebackers to a new level.”

Some clarity on Laurinaitis’ role and future was likely helpful for Ohio State here.

“Definitely,” Alford said, when asked if this news was important to his view of Ohio State as a possible destination for him. “I know if I was to choose Ohio State that I’d want him to be there.”

While recruiting isn’t the only thing to consider with these decisions, it is still the lifeblood of any college football program and Laurinaitis has shown to be proficient in that area even with his restrictions.

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