Skip to main content

Report: Ohio State Football Could Lose Prominent Assistant Coach

an ohio state player warms up during the national title game

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: An Ohio State football player warms up before the national title game. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

After a run to the national championship game, Ohio State football may need to replace a well-regarded assistant this offseason. Tennessee appears to be making a run at one of the Buckeyes fast-rising defensive coaches.

According to a report from, Josh Heupel has zeroed in on Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington to take over the defensive coordinator vacancy in Knoxville. The 36-year-old breakout assistant has had a meteoric rise through the college coaching ranks, making a lead coordinator role the next logical jump.

Washington arrived in Columbus in 2019 to take over a talented linebackers group. He came from Jim Harbaugh's Michigan staff, where he spent one season in 2018. Before his time in Ann Arbor, he worked with the defensive line group at Cincinnati.

At just 36, Washington already boasts experience coaching on both sides of the ball at the collegiate level. He spent three seasons on the sidelines at Boston College, his alma mater, as the Eagles' running backs coach.

A chance to try and turn things around at Tennessee is a high-risk, high-reward situation for Washington. The well-regarded assistant has been described as "high-energy" and a solid recruiter, both of which the Volunteers could use to try and right the ship in Knoxville.

Although a defensive coordinator job might be on the table for Washington, Ohio State hopes to hold onto him in 2021. The Buckeyes will have some additional compensation to offer, so could entice the 36-year-old with a financial incentive. Ohio State also offers a more secure gig with all of the turmoil at Tennessee.

Heupel has yet to make a giant splash with his staff in Knoxville. The former UCF head coach brought along a handful of assistants from his Golden Knights crew, but will need to up his game as the offseason rolls along.

Washington could be the right man for the job, but time will tell if Tennessee can pull him away from Ohio State.