A JERSEY GUY: BC Coach Search Closing In On Ohio State Assistants

Mark Blaudschun

Boston College athletic director Martin Jarmond reportedly hit the road Wednesday, to Columbus, where numerous sources say he is focusing on Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley and (to a lesser extent) Buckeye linebacker coach Al Washington.

The process is complicated by Ohio State's participation in Saturday's Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin.

Another possible stop could be Cincinnati for a visit with coach Luke Fickell, who is also on Jarmond's wish list but seen to be a less-likely option.

Jarmond, who came to BC from Ohio State, is hoping to tentatively close the deal this week with a formal announcement next week.

Hafley, 40, has more impressive credentials than Washington, who is a BC graduate and worked on recently-fired Steve Addazio's staff and is more familiar with the culture at BC, which is an important factor.

But Hafley is the rising star, which might give Jarmond pause if he expects a long term commitment from Hafley.

Washington would be more likely to stay at BC for an extended period.

There is, however, no debate about Hafley's status as a potential next-generation star. He has been labeled a "poor man's Ryan Day,'' a former BC assistant currently leading Ohio State to an undefeated season and No.1 ranking in this week's College Football Playoff rankings. Day was named Big Ten Coach of The Year this week.

A Jersey guy (Montvale), Hafley came out of Siena College as a wide receiver and immediately moved into coaching as running backs coach at Worcester Poly Tech in 2001. He spent the next 12 years working his way up the coaching tree, ending up at Rutgers coach on Greg Schiano's previous staff.

When Schiano left Rutgers for the NFL to become head coach for Tampa Bay, Hafley went with him. After Schiano was fired in 2014, Hafley had stops in the NFL with Cleveland and San Francisco, before joining Day's s staff at Ohio State this season.

Jarmond's major decision appears to be whether to take Hafley, conceding that BC is not a destination job, or develop his own star in Washington, who is five years young but may require more seasoning.

The other problem for BC: when would Hafley or Washington will be available? Ohio State's season could extend to mid-January, which would cause some recruiting problems for BC.

It has been done at other places in the past, but it can be a complicated process.

If a deal can't be worked out with either coach, Jarmond will go to Plan B, but right now it appears the search will start and end in Columbus.

And it could be over in a matter of days.

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Mark Blaudschun

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