Free Press sports writer Nick Baumgardner breaks down what happened in Michigan football’s 41-15 loss to Florida in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 29, 2018.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
For the second time in as many days, Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan football program has lost an assistant coach to its biggest rival.
Ohio State confirmed the hiring of Michigan linebackers coach Al Washington on Tuesday.
“Al Washington is going to be a terrific addition to our coaching staff,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a released statement. “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.”
The news comes one day after the Buckeyes announced the hiring of Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison as the team’s co-defensive coordinator.
A Michigan spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Washington’s ties to Ohio State’s program run deep. He’s a Columbus, Ohio, native. His father played college football for the Buckeyes and Washington was a defensive lineman at Boston College in the early 2000s when Day spent two years there as a graduate assistant.
He was at Michigan just one year, hired by Harbaugh from Cincinnati, but Washington quickly established himself as one of the staff’s top recruiters. At Michigan, Washington helped the Wolverines make recruiting progress in the state of Ohio. He also was a key part of the staff’s efforts to recruit Georgia.
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Washington was the key recruiter in Michigan’s efforts to land 5-star Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison, a player who ultimately chose the Buckeyes.
Washington came to Michigan in part due to a tie with current U-M defensive coordinator Don Brown, as Washington was on staff with Brown at Boston College.
As a player, Washington was a three-year starting defensive tackle at Boston College. He has been a defensive line coach at Slippery Rock University, Boston College and Cincinnati. Washington also has coached special teams (BC), linebackers (Elon) and running backs (BC).
Washington is the third Michigan staffer to leave the program this offseason, joining wide receivers coach Jim McElwain (now head coach at Central Michigan) and Mattison.
Overall, Washington is the 12th assistant coach to leave Harbaugh’s program since Harbaugh took over prior to the 2015 season.
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Contact Nick Baumgardner: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickBaumgardner.