Ohio State Hires Michigan Linebacker Coach Al Washington

Al Washington Wolverines Wire

Ryan Day hasn’t served as a Head Coach in The Game yet, but he’s already on a winning streak against Michigan.

According to a report from Marc Givler with Buckeye Grove, and now confirmed by OSU, Ohio State has hired Wolverines linebacker coach Al Washington to fill the same position on their coaching staff in 2019.

It’s another big win for Day, who stole UM defensive line coach Greg Mattison away to serve as the Buckeyes’ new co-Defensive Coordinator on Monday, and also landed 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison back in December, after Harrison had been considered close to a lock to end up at Michigan.

Ironically, at the time Washington was a big reason that Harrison favored the Wolverines; he was Jim Harbaugh’s lead recruiter for the star player.

Now, they’re both going to be Buckeyes.

Washington actually grew up in Columbus as a big OSU fan. His father, Alvin, played linebacker for Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce from 1977-1980. He had 11 tackles in the Buckeyes’ 18-15 win over Michigan in 1979, capping a perfect regular season.

The younger Al played at Bishop Watterson High School. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a Buckeye, but a scholarship offer never came.

He played defensive tackle at Boston College from 2002-2005, and later served as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2012-2016, first working with running backs before switching to special teams and defense.

Washington coached alongside Day on Chestnut Hill in 2013 and 2014, while Day was the team’s Offensive Coordinator. Now, they will work together again in Columbus.

He spent 2017 as the defensive line coach for Luke Fickell at Cincinnati before moving to Michigan in 2018 to coach linebackers. During his only season in Ann Arbor, MLB Devin Bush was named a first-team all-American.

Washington also has a reputation as a fantastic recruiter. Young and energetic, Washington has been able to establish a connection with a number of top recruits over the last year with the Wolverines.

You can hear more about his recruiting philosophy below.

[Header Photo Courtesy: Wolverines Wire]

Here is the official release from Ohio State.

Ryan Day Names Al Washington Ohio State Linebackers Coach

He is a Columbus native and his father is among the top 10 tacklers in Ohio State history 

 COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus, Ohio native Al Washington, who played on and coached on Boston College teams that included Ryan Day on staff and who has significant ties to the Buckeye football program, was named today by Day as the new linebackers coach at Ohio State University.

Washington grew up in and around Ohio Stadium and attended Bishop Watterson High School, graduating in 2002. His father, Al Washington Sr., played linebacker for the Buckeyes from 1977 through 1980 and currently ranks eighth in career tackles with 345.

Washington brings 12 years of college coaching experience with him, including a five-year stay at Boston College (2012-16) where he and Day worked on the same staff. He was a defensive end at BC between 2002 and 2005 and Day was a graduate assistant there for two of those seasons.

“Al Washington is going to be a terrific addition to our coaching staff,” Day said. “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.”

This past season Washington coached linebackers and was special team’s coordinator at Michigan, helping the Wolverines produce the nation’s No. 3-ranked overall defense this season and the second-ranked unit against the pass.

Washington also mentored consensus All-American and Butkus Award finalist Devin Bush, who was the Big Ten’s Woodson-Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.

As special team’s coach, Washington’s unit was tied for fourth nationally in blocked punts, led the Big Ten in punt average and allowed just one kick return all season of 30 yards or more.

Washington came home to Ohio in 2017 when he served as defensive line coach for Luke Fickell at Cincinnati. He helped Marquise Copeland earn honorable mention All-AAC honors as he set career highs with 63 tackles, 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks.

Prior to Cincinnati, Washington spent five years at his alma mater – Boston College – on both sides of the ball. He coached running backs from 2013 through 2015 before taking over as the program’s special team’s coordinator and defensive line coach during the 2016 season. He began his tenure in 2012 as the assistant special teams coach and assistant defensive line coach.

On the same offensive staff as Day in 2013, Washington helped develop Andre Williams into a Heisman Trophy finalist and the ACC’s first-ever Doak Walker Award recipient. That season, Williams rushed for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns, becoming just the 16th player in FBS history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark.

Over the three seasons that he coached running backs, Boston College ranked first in the ACC with 211.8 yards per game. The Eagles improved their rushing output in each season and broke the school’s season rushing record in 2014.

In his final year at Boston College, Washington moved to the defensive side of the ball and coached the defensive line. With his help, the Eagles were one of the nation’s best units, ranking in the top 10 in total defense, sacks, tackles for loss and rush defense. He coached defensive end Harold Landry, an All-American, who led the nation with 16.5 sacks. Landry was a second round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans.

Washington coached linebackers at Elon in 2011. While there, he developed Joshua Jones into an All-American and All-SoCon selection and Jonathan Spain into a freshman All-American. A two-year stint at Slippery Rock proceeded Washington’s tenure at Elon.

Washington began his coaching career in 2007 as the defensive line coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution (RPI) before a one year stay in 2008 at N.C. State as a graduate assistant.

An outstanding player in his own right, Washington was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner as a defensive tackle for Boston College (2002-05). He finished his career with 74 tackles, six sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. The Eagles won eight or more games in all four of his years and were unbeaten in four bowl games. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in sociology. At Bishop Watterson, Washington was the 2001 co-Defensive Player of the Year in Division II and led the Eagles to the state championship game.

Washington and his wife, Melissa, have a son, Michael, and a daughter, Audrey.

20 Responses

  1. 1.I just heard Ryan Day is hiring a
    Michigan Assistant Coach!?????????????????????????

    2.Why would one Hire an Assistant coach from a team that you have Dominated for 10yrs??

    3.And here’s the Obvious question. Why would you hire a coach from Michigan???????????!
    Does it really look like we need or should want to do anything the way Michigan has been doing it. This is scandalous!

  2. Go Eagles!!! Watterson, that is.

  3. So what exactly has Marcus Freeman done to warrant such high praise? How much better is he than Washington? don’t get me wrong I would love to have Freeman but only because the great sages on this site say he’s the greatest linebacker coach since…also, i continue to be perplexed about the love for Fickell – yes he was a good d coordinator but I absolutely recall when many folks on this site including the sages wanted him fired – so let Day do his thing and then – if there is no improvement do what you do best and SOUND THE ALARM!

  4. Believe Bush was an all American, and MI’s LB corp ranked near the top of the not only the B1G, but the nation. While his D was exposed, it was due to not seeing the type of speed and talent and we have to wait what he does with arguably deeper talent at OSU. Either way, a huge step up.

  5. We just added two excellent recruiters and pretty good coaches. Could care less that they coached at Michigan.

  6. Its no wonder Haskins is turning pro, he won’t be able to improve against these clowns coaching the defense.

  7. Washington is from Columbus and has Ohio State ties so he gets a pass–but these Michigan hires are making me want to puke. Mattison? Out of all the programs we could rob we go to the losers? There’s something sick about that. These guys held us to 62 points. It’s the last place I’d shop for coaches. Besides everybody knows that Michigan gets their best coaches from Ohio and not vice versa.

  8. Good to see the Buckeye coaching staff becoming more diversified.

  9. @James A. Mills: Yes, I’m sure you have a much more intelligent football mind–OSU should have hired you instead. Give me a break

  10. He was only at scUM for 1 year. He is from Columbus and his dad played for Woody and Earle. He is home! This is a great hire…100% better than Davis coaching LBs. I would rather have Freeman, but this is a win.

  11. Well it looks like Al Washington and his family have buckeye roots in Ohio. I think this will work. Anything is better than Davis.

  12. Give it a chance guys. Let’s see how they perform at a quality University before getting all negative.

  13. Disappointing. I was hoping to bring Marcus Freeman ‘home’. Day’s circus and Day’s monkeys though. Hope it works out. Good to be rid of Bill Davis, at least. Nobody, including me, could do worse.

  14. What is this win BS about………’s a lose. Since when does hiring assistants from a program that you dominate constitute ANYTHING beyond a huge step down in coaching

    Ryan SERIOUSLY needs to stop listening to the melon heads at junk sites like espn and 247 sports. They don’t have a single solitary football mind at either place.

    Ryan started out with wins, but doesn’t appear to have the capacity to close with any intelligent decision making.

    1. do you really think Day is making these changes without getting Urban’s approval ? These are quality moves

    2. @James A. Mills: Yes, I’m sure you have a much more intelligent football mind–OSU should have hired you instead. Give me a break

      1. When it comes to linebacker coaching…..I’m CERTAIN that I could target a much better option. I really couldn’t care less what you think. Why does Ohio State have to be the proving ground for every upstart wannabe position coach? It’s been that way for far too long. It wasn’t me who changed the definition of what success means in College Football, but, if the Buckeyes don’t want to be scoffed at by the idiots in charge, meaning espin and their flunky CFB playoff committee, they had better step away from developing coaches and start getting the best of the best to develop the talent. Otherwise Ohio State is going to remain an afterthought to places like Alabama and Clemson…..and even a second rate Georgia squad, or Oklahoma.

        Mattison is a washed up yesterdays news. Al, and I know he’s a great person, doesn’t have the skills yet. He’s still in the learning phase of being a high quality coach.

        Pretty simple to look southwest of Columbus and find a better option.

        1. That’s funny, we don’t care what you think either… but yet you keep posting… and posting… and posting.

        2. Somebody forgot to take their meds.

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