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COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was named as the 2007 Big Ten defensive player of the year by both the coaches and media voters; the coaches selected Vernon Gholston as the defensive lineman of the year in the conference.

“This is a huge honor,” said Laurinaitis, a junior from Hamel, Minn., who is a finalist for the Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards. “With all the great players we have in the conference, it’s a real blessing to be thought of in that light. It’s a great tribute to the Ohio State team.”

“This is amazing, but I’m very proud to represent the Ohio State defense and football family, and all my teammates and coaches,” said Gholston, a junior from Detroit, Mich. “A lot of good things will happen if you work hard. We’re going to keep working.”

Laurinaitis and Gholston were joined on the all-conference first team by offensive tackle Kirk Barton, running back Chris “Beanie” Wells and defensive back Malcolm Jenkins. Quarterback Todd Boeckman was a first-team selection of the media voters.

Offensive tackle Alex Boone was selected for the Big Ten second team, as was linebacker Marcus Freeman by the league coaches. Receiver Brian Hartline was recognized as a Sportsmanship Award winner.

The entire all-Big Ten football teams and 2007 award winners will be made public later this evening on the Big Ten Network’s “Big Ten Tonight” program.

No. 5 Ohio State (11-1) awaits its postseason bowl assignment.