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Ohio State hires linebacker coach Al Washington away from Michigan

The Buckeyes can’t stop beating Michigan.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Ohio State Buckeyes added Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison to its staff as a co-defensive coordinator, and it looks like Ryan Day is going back to that well up north. Michigan’s linebackers coach Al Washington is joining Mattison in migrating south to Columbus, and will be serving as the replacement for Bill Davis at the linebackers coaching spot. Ohio State confirmed the hire Tuesday afternoon.

Washington spent just a year in Ann Arbor, but it was an impressive one, as he coached one of the best linebacker groups in America, led by Devin Bush Jr. In his single year, Washington also proved himself as an excellent recruiter, landing four-star Trente Jones among others, and nearly pulling Zach Harrison out of Columbus.

A Columbus native, Washington isn’t new to the Buckeye state, as he spent a year under Luke Fickell at Cincinnati in 2017, attended Watterson High School (just about ten minutes from Ohio State), and grew up in a Buckeye family. His father (Al Washington Sr.) was a linebacker under Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce in the late 70s and early 80s, and was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Jets in 1981.

Washington — a rising talent in the coaching ranks — is expected to see a significant pay increase at Ohio State. He graduated from Boston College, where he was a four-year letterman on the defensive line — Day was a GA at BC during Washington’s freshman and sophomore seasons. He also played one season for the Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League. Before his pitstops in Cincinnati and Ann Arbor, he spent five seasons getting experience in the coaching ranks (RPI, North Carolina State, Slippery Rock, Elon), before heading back to his alma mater from 2012-16.

It was back at Boston College that Washington coached alongside Day for the first time, in 2013-14. Washington was one of Jim Harbaugh’s best recruiters when it came to the state of Ohio, so his connections to the Buckeye state will be very important moving forward.