Ohio State football: Ryan Day hires second coach from Michigan, Al Washington

Bill Rabinowitz

Ohio State’s raiding of its arch-rival continued Tuesday, and this time it’s a homecoming.

Watterson graduate Al Washington, whose father of the same name played football for Ohio State under Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce, is leaving Michigan to become linebackers coach for the Buckeyes.

Washington’s hiring comes a day after new coach Ryan Day lured Michigan defensive line coach and former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison to become co-defensive coordinator with Jeff Hafley.

“Al Washington is going to be a terrific addition to our coaching staff,” Day said in an OSU press release. “I’ve known him as player and as a coach and I know his family very well. I think his familiarity with this region as a coach and as a recruiter is going to be very impactful, as will his leadership with our linebackers unit.”

Day and Washington coached together at Boston College – Washington’s alma mater -- in 2013. Day was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Washington was the running backs coach before switching to special teams coordinator and defensive line coach in 2016, his final year at BC.

The Eagles ranked first in the ACC with 211.8 rushing yards per game in his three seasons as running backs coach. In his season as defensive-line coach, Boston College ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense, sacks, tackles for loss and rush defense.

Washington coached Michigan’s linebackers last year after spending 2017 with Luke Fickell as the University of Cincinnati’s defensive line coach. He helped coach a Wolverines defense that ranked first nationally in total defense until Ohio State ripped it in the Buckeyes’ 62-39 victory. Florida then rolled through a depleted Michigan defense in a 41-15 Peach Bowl victory.

Washington was a defensive tackle at Boston College. He played one year in the Canadian Football League.

Washington replaces Bill Davis. Ohio State’s linebackers did not play up to Buckeye standards in 2018, though they showed improvement later in the season. That position got a boost from the decision of Malik Harrison to return to Ohio State instead of declaring for the NFL draft.

Davis announced his departure Tuesday on Twitter.

“After passing on previous opportunities we have decided to return to the NFL,” Davis wrote. “Coach Day and I have mutually agreed he should plan his staff without me. We are excited for Coach Day and we will continue to cheer for the success of Buckeye Nation.”


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