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6 possible candidates to replace Stan Drayton at Ohio State

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Ohio State unexpectedly has an opening at running backs coach. Here are some names they might look at.

247Sports

Ohio State suddenly has an opening on their coaching staff, and replacing his production is going to be tough. Celebrated running backs coach Stan Drayton has departed to take the same position with the Chicago Bears, leaving behind a series of record breaking offenses at Ohio State. Perhaps almost as importantly, Drayton was a dynamite recruiter for Ohio State. An Ohio native, Drayton had previous ties to Florida and other SEC schools and was named 247Sports' best recruiter in the Big Ten.

The good news for Ohio State is that Urban Meyer has historically done an outstanding job hiring assistants. With national signing day behind him, he has a little more time to find the right candidate. It would make sense for Ohio State to look for a younger coach that has either ties to Urban Meyer, Ohio, and also experience recruiting in territories important to Ohio State (Florida, Georgia, Texas, etc), while also having a documented record of success with running backs.

With that in mind, here are some names that Ohio State could potentially look at, in no particular order:

Al Washington, RB coach, Boston College

Washington doesn't necessarily have a record of being a dynamite recruiter (he was ranked 91st in the ACC via 247Sports' rankings), but it would be difficult to do that at Boston College anyway. What he does have, however, is a record of helping nurture exceptional running attacks. Working under Steve Addazio, a former Meyer assistant coach, Washington and the Eagles build Andre Williams into a legitimate Heisman candidate, and ran one of the best running attacks in college football this season (15th in yards per game). Washington is a Columbus native and a graduate of Bishop Watterson, and has recruited in Ohio, the northeast, and North Carolina.

Deland McCullough, RB coach, Indiana

The Indiana Hoosiers may not be a great football team, but one thing they've been able to do very successfully over the last few seasons is run the football. McCullough helped mold superback Tevin Coleman, one of the best in the Big Ten in 2014, as well as Stephen Houston in 2013. McCullough is from Youngstown and played and coached at Miami (OH) and at a high school in Cincinnati. In the 2015 recruiting class at Indiana, he also brought in recruits from Maryland and Florida.

Tony Alford, RB coach, Notre Dame

Alford might be a bit of a stretch, given that he doesn't have obvious ties to Urban Meyer and has been at Notre Dame since 2010, but his appeal is strong. Rated as one of the best recruiters in the country last season, Alford helped bring in multiple blue-chips, and while a Colorado State graduate, has coached in Ohio (Kent State, Mt. Union), and in the Big Ten footprint (Notre Dame, Iowa State). Alford also has ties to other coaches on Ohio State's staff, and many of the 2016 recruits Ohio State is trying to pick up.

Mark Elder, TE coach, Tennessee

Elder is responsible for tight ends for the Volunteers now, but he's previously coached running backs at Cincinnati. Elder is an Ohio native (Case Western Reserve graduate), has a Masters from Akron, and has spent the bulk of his career in Ohio and Michigan. Elder was one of the coaches responsible for the development of Isaiah Pead, who was a huge reason for Cincinnati's success in the Big East, and was ranked one of the best recruiters in the SEC. If Ohio State was looking for for somebody to further their recruiting bonafides rather than specific positional knowledge, Elder could be a nice fit.

Thomas Brown, RB coach, Wisconsin

If you're going to grab a guy from the Big Ten, why not look at a school that has done the best job of building a running game? Brown is a young coach, having only been at Wisconsin for a year, but that year saw Melvin Gordon blow up as the best running back in the country. Prior to working at Wisconsin, Brown coached running backs at Marshall (where he had three running backs rush for over 500 yards) and Chattanooga, and has experience recruiting out of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and his home state of Georgia, a extremely important state for Ohio State recruiting.

Tim Hinton, TE coach, Ohio State

Ohio State doesn't necessarily have to go outside the family to grab a running back coach. If Ohio State would rather hire an ace recruiter to coach tight ends (say, somebody like Mark Elder), they could always move Hinton over to running backs. After all, Hinton coached running backs at Notre Dame and Cincinnati recently, and already intimately knows Ohio State's offense, philosophy and the players. Depending on who is out there in the coaching  marketplace, Ohio State has the flexibility to go a few different directions in their search.

Given Meyer's coaching tree though, I think Buckeye fans can feel pretty confident in whoever Ohio State ultimately ends up with here.