The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 75

FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 27 "At Boston College, he had a pure love for the school," Sullivan said. "He's an alum, he was so young when he got into a prominent role at BC. He just knew everything about it and is not going to accept no for an answer. "He doesn't allow guys to give up when the going gets tough, he's always pushing them. He does the same thing with recruits." His ability as a recruiter will be im- portant for the Wolverines, who are hoping he can bring in the best play- ers possible for Brown's system. At BC, Washington was the lead recruiter for star defensive end Harold Landry, who is expected to be a first- or sec- ond-round pick in this year 's NFL Draft. He finished with 25 sacks in his college career, 16.5 of which came during his junior campaign to set a single-season school record. "Harold Landry credits Al Wash- ington as a big reason he came to BC," Sullivan said. "Al is an unbelievable recruiter. The only reason he left BC was because he's from Ohio and wanted to be closer to home." According to his bio on Cincinna- ti's website, Boston College's special teams unit in 2016 ranked 12th in the nation and third in the ACC in punt returns (12.35 yards per runback), third in the ACC in kickoff return de- fense (18.44 yards allowed per run- back) and sixth in the league in kickoff returns (22.77 yards per return). Re- turn man Tyler Rouse, in his first year returning punts, finished seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision rank- ings and third in the ACC, averaging 13.04 yards per runback. "That was a unit that Al had all on his own and you definitely saw a one year improvement," Sullivan said. In addition to his time at Boston College and Cincinnati, Washington was RPI's defensive line coach in 2007, a graduate assistant at North Carolina State in 2008, defensive line coach at Slippery Rock for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and the linebackers coach at Elon in 2011. Washington was born on April 22, 1984, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He is married to Melissa Wash- ington and has a son named Michael Anthony. Washington played defensive tackle from 2002-05 at Boston College. After his college career, he played one sea- son in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. With the Eagles, he played in bowl games all four seasons. He's coached in four others — in the 2008 Papa- Bowl with North Carolina State, and the 2013 Independence Bowl, the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl and the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl with Boston College. The Wolverines are holding onto linebackers and special teams coach Chris Partridge, who signed a con- tract extension in January. He had of- fers from several schools, most nota- bly Alabama, but chose to turn them down and stick with Michigan. According to a memorandum of un- derstanding, he will coach safeties in 2018 while retaining the special teams coordinator role and adding the title of recruiting coordinator. He is con- sidered one of U-M's most important recruiters and is widely respected in the industry, twice earning national Re- cruiter of the Year distinctions — from Scout in 2016 and 247Sports in 2017. ❏ Ben Herbert Named Strength Coach Michigan filled its open director of strength and conditioning position by hiring former Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert Jan. 4. He spent the past five seasons with the Razorbacks under coach Bret Bielema. Prior to Arkansas, he was at Wiscon- sin for 11 years (2002-12). He was an intern in 2002, before becoming an assistant strength coach from 2003- 08. He was named the head strength and conditioning coach his final four seasons in Madison, Wis. During his career as a strength coach, Herbert has worked with 71 NFL Draft picks, including eight first- round selections. He coached two Heisman Trophy fi- nalists, two Outland Trophy winners, two Doak Walker Award winners, 49 first-team All-Big Ten selections, four first-team All-SEC honorees and 30 All-Americans. He also won five Big Ten titles and participated in five Rose Bowl games as both a player and coach. Herbert played four years with the Badgers on the defensive line and won two Rose Bowls. Forty-one of those 71 draft picks were from his days at Wisconsin — six of which were first-round picks, including defensive end J.J. Watt, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and offensive tackle Joe Thomas. "He was a very big part of the physical development of those Bret Bielema teams during the three-year Rose Bowl run at Wisconsin,"'s John Veldhuis told The Wolverine. "At the time, when he left for Arkansas, Barry Alvarez was hop- ing they could get him to stay. The SEC money down there [was hard to beat] … they could afford to pay him more. "He got a lot of the credit for building up, in particular, those offensive lines where they had all but one guy go to the NFL, and the last guy was too injured to go. Ben Herbert developed those guys in the weight room." Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is hoping Herbert can bring back that level of toughness to the Wolverines. He let former strength coach Kevin Tolbert go by not re-signing his contract at the end of the season. "We've been emphasizing [strength]. We need to do that," Harbaugh said after a loss to Ohio State. "We need improvement, and we need to get stronger. "We need to get better. That's our mission." — Andrew Vailliencourt During his time at Arkansas and Wisconsin, Herbert has worked with 71 NFL Draft picks, including eight first-round selections. PHOTO COURTESY ARKANSAS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2018