InsideNDSports - Al Washington set to replace Elston as ND's defensive line coach
football Edit

Al Washington set to replace Elston as ND's defensive line coach

He recently got lost in an Ohio State offseason coaching staff shuffle, had a stretch of coaching running backs at Boston College for three seasons, and once left Michigan for hated rival OSU.

Now, a year after turning down Tennessee to be its defensive coordinator to stay at Ohio State, Al Washington is coming to Notre Dame to purportedly do what he does best — coach the defensive line.

The 37-year-old Boston College grad and former Eagles D-lineman will also hold the title of run game coordinator for the Irish. ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Sunday was the first to report the news. A source confirmed it to Inside ND Sports.

Washington was the linebackers coach for the Buckeyes the past three seasons. He places Mike Elston, who Thursday left Notre Dame after 12 seasons for the D-line coaching job at his alma mater, Michigan.

Irish head coach Marcus Freeman took just three days after that to identify his lead candidate, interview him and reach a deal with Washington. The two coached together at Cincinnati in 2017.

"I’m sure Marcus is counting on Al Washington to be a prolific recruiter, like (defensive line coach) Larry Johnson is at Ohio State," CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said.

"He’s learned from Johnson. He understands what makes Johnson the best D-line coach in the country, both recruiting and coaching. So I think Marcus is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a guy who’s worked with the best."

Washington helped the Buckeyes sign two top 40 linebackers in December, five-star C.J. Hicks and four-star Gabe Powers, both from Ohio. Hicks often cited his relationship with Washington as one of the top selling points for the Buckeyes.

Notre Dame's defensive line is loaded with talent, depth and experience for 2022, led by senior-to-be defensive end Isaiah Foskey.

The more critical hire, as it pertains to that group, is who the next defensive coordinator will be and how willing and able that coach is able to adapt to Freeman's desire for schematic similarity to what the Irish did in 2021 when Freeman was the defensive coordinator.


Birthday: April 22, 1984

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

High School: Bishop Watterson

College: Boston College, Sociology (2006)

Family: Wife Melissa; son Michael and daughter Audrey


Year: School - Position

2007: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Defensive Line

2008: NC State - Graduate Assistant

2009–2010: Slippery Rock - Defensive Line

2011: Elon - Linebackers

2012: Boston College - Defensive Line, Asst. Special Teams

2013–2015: Boston College - Running Backs

2016: Boston College - Defensive Line, Special Teams

2017: Cincinnati - Defensive Line

2018: Michigan - Linebackers

2019–2021: Ohio State - Linebackers

2022: Notre Dame - Defensive Line, Run Game Coordinator


• Talk with Notre Dame fans on The Insider Lounge.

• Subscribe to the Inside ND Sports Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Podbean or Pocket Casts.

• Follow us on Twitter: @insideNDsports, @EHansenND and @TJamesND.

• Like us on Facebook: Inside ND Sports

• Follow us on Instagram: @insideNDsports