Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach at Rutgers, according to reports first filed by Sports Illustrated.
Ash first came to OSU in January 2014 after a year coaching the secondary at the University of Arkansas. Since arriving in Columbus, Ash has helped turn the Buckeye defense into one of the nation’s premier units.
OSU finished the 2015 regular season ranked 10th in the nation in defense, surrendering just 302 yards per game. Through 12 games, the “Silver Bullets” have only let up 20 touchdowns to opposing offenses, which is second fewest in the FBS.
Last season, which was Ash’s first in Ohio’s capital city, the Buckeyes were 12th in the country in total defense en route to winning the first-ever College Football Playoff title.
Ash is set to take over for Kyle Flood, who was let go at the end of this season after having just two winning seasons out of his four at Rutgers. In 2015, the Scarlet Knights finished a mere 4-8, including a 49-7 loss to OSU.
Rutgers is set to be the third school in the Big Ten that Ash has coached at. Prior to his one season at the SEC’s Arkansas, Ash coached at the University of Wisconsin from 2010-2012.
Ash graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1996, where he played safety on the football team. Ash is currently in his 19th season as a football coach.
An OSU spokesman was unable to comment on the matter. A spokesman for Rutgers did not immediately respond when asked for confirmation of Sports Illustrated’s report.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that a spokesman for OSU did respond to The Lantern’s inquiry after initial publication.