The Hurry-Up: How “Technician Coach” Al Washington Could Take Dasan McCullough’s Game to the Next Level, More on 2022 LB Recruiting

By Zack Carpenter on June 23, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Al Washington

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Washington and McCullough a good match

Last month, Eleven Warriors published a story about Al Washington and how effective of a recruiter he has become throughout his entire career and the process by which he has done that – by being one of the best in the business in building relationships.

He did that at previous stints in the FCS, Division II, Division III and for Boston College, Cincinnati and Michigan, where he was one of the main reasons that Zach Harrison was very close to joining the Wolverines – and one of the main reasons he felt even more comfortable becoming a Buckeye once Washington was hired a month after Harrison signed in December of 2018.

Washington is feeling more comfortable in his second season as an Ohio State coach, now feeling fully entrenched in the culture of the program, and he is hitting his stride as a recruiter. And it comes at the perfect time, as linebacker is one of the biggest positions of need in the Buckeyes' 2022 recruiting class.

They are gunning for a minimum of three linebackers, with a fourth hybrid defensive end/linebacker as another target (see below). Washington has one proverbial box checked in that regard, with C.J. Hicks doubling down on his commitment this week, and Kansas' Dasan McCullough is a candidate to follow Hicks down the road.

If Washington does wind up landing McCullough, the main reasons would not come as a surprise. 

“I’m closer with Coach Al than I am with any other coach,” McCullough told Eleven Warriors earlier this month. “He stays in contact with me a whole lot. ... They could’ve offered me a month before they actually offered me, but Coach Washington wanted to build a relationship with me, which is respectable.

“It was sometime in March (when I started talking with Washington). We were talking, it had to have been two or three weeks before I got the offer. We were talking every other day on Zoom calls and all that before I got an offer.”

Those Zoom calls are often full of discussions about things that aren't football related, which is something we hear time and time again when it comes to Buckeye coaches in recruiting – that football isn't often mentioned, as it's more of a genuine relationship-building process that's taking place.

But, obviously, there are still a lot of conversations taking place that are football-centric, and that's where Washington excels as well.

Just like we have reported he has done during the recruitments of Reid Carrico and Gabe Powers, Washington has hit the film room fairly hard to break down McCullough. That's one of the prime reasons the young linebacker is intrigued about the possibility of one day working with Washington, as he believes the fellow Ohio native could help him take his game to the next level if he elects to play his college ball for the Buckeyes. 

“He’s really a technician coach,” McCullough said. “He tells me that he can just look at my body and tell that with the techniques he’s gonna be adding to it that it’s gonna be dangerous. And, really, him as a person is definitely a coach I wanna work hard for. He’s definitely a player’s coach. Obviously, I’m not in the locker room or anything, but I can see videos of him hyping the team up.

“All those little things makes me feel stronger and stronger about him because that’s the kind of coach I wanna be around – someone who pushes me and someone who wants me to be my very best efficiently and knows what they’re doing, obviously. You see the type of linebackers he’s gotten in the league, like Malik Harrison and there’s gonna be a couple more. Plus, you see what he did at Michigan, and it’s just real special.”

More on LBs

Manvel (Texas) three-star linebacker Justin Medlock has told Eleven Warriors that Washington and Co. have told him he is the ideal fit for them at Will linebacker and could translate to Mike linebacker as well. He is one of their top targets at Will.

Marysville (Ohio) four-star linebacker Powers is one of the top overall targets on the board and has tremendous ability as an outside linebacker, but his body/frame looks like it may have him transforming into a defensive end by the time he gets to college. Multiple people close to Powers' recruitment have indicated to us that Ohio State is projecting Powers to be moved to defensive end.

However, as we reported two Sundays ago, both Powers and Medlock are not on the verge of making a commitment yet. They would each like to take visits before making any sort of decision one way or the other, and neither of them is being pushed to make a commitment, either.

But the biggest fish the Buckeyes are going after is Stonewall Jackson (Va.) High School junior Shawn Murphy, the No. 3-ranked overall player and No. 1-ranked inside linebacker in the country's 2022 class, according to 247Sports.

Murphy is Ohio State's top linebacker target, and he is being recruited to play the Mike. Washington's strong ties to Virginia – where he was the area recruiter for Michigan and has assumed that role for the Buckeyes, helping them land TreVeyon Henderson and being their key foot in the door in the Tony Grimes relationship – should serve Ohio State well in that recruitment. 

Washington, McCullough and Hicks have each been talking to Murphy frequently as the wheels continue churning in that recruitment. 

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