Report: Tennessee Volunteers Targeting Al Washington as New Defensive Coordinator

Washington is a Columbus native and has coached the Ohio State linebackers the last two seasons.
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UPDATE: Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time

Sources tell FootballScoop.com Ryan Day and Gene Smith have made their appeal to Washington to remain with the Buckeyes and that a decision is expected today.

ORIGINAL STORY: Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time

Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington is reportedly the lead target for the Tennessee Volunteers and new head coach Josh Heupel for their vacant defensive coordinator.

Sources are telling FootballScoop.com that Washington is the top choice for Tennessee as Heupel builds his staff.

In the meantime, Lettermen Row is reporting that Washington has not made a definitive decision on whether to leave Columbus or not.

Washington is a Columbus native and is a critical piece of the Ohio State coaching staff. He's been coaching the Buckeyes' linebackers now for the last two seasons after he left Jim Harbaugh's staff when the 2018 season concluded.

This would be an interesting move for Washington, who is by all accounts a fantastic coach and a guy that has loved his time at Ohio State. It's hard to envision the Buckeyes keeping him around long-term without a promotion or a raise, considering how well he has performed in recruiting and in preparing the current Buckeyes each week. 

In addition to coaching the linebackers, Washington has significant experience coaching defensive linemen at three different school. He also has spent time coaching both sides of the ball at Power 5 schools, having coached running backs at Boston college from 2013-2015.

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FootballScoop's report said that Tennessee had conducted Zoom interviews with multiple candidates over the last three days, including some that progressed to the point where they were discussing a 3-year contract with at least one candidate.

While Washington would be joining a program that certainly isn't ready to compete at the same level that the Buckeyes are currently playing, a promotion and a raise could certainly lure him away from his hometown and his current role.

Josh Heupel was just hired at Tennessee on January 27 after leading UCF. His previous athletic director Danny White, was hired by UT one week prior and brought his football coach with him after the Volunteers cleaned house following an NCAA recruiting violation resulted in the firing of Jeremy Pruitt.

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