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Rising from the Ash: Rutgers Closing in on OSU's Chris Ash as Head Football Coach

Sports Illustrated reports Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash will be Rutgers' next head coach.

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UPDATE: The Star Ledger's Keith "Sarge" Sargeant reports that a school source has confirmed the hire and that Ash is expected to be introduced on Monday, pending approval from the Rutgers Board of Governors.

This is the most solid rumor we've heard through a hiring cycle that has been tight-lipped and buttoned up.

Sports Illustrated's Thayler Evans reports that Rutgers is finalizing a deal that will make outstanding Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash the next head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights:

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash is finalizing details to be Rutgers's new head coach, according to a source.

Ash has served as Defensive Coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes the past 2 years, holding the same post with Arkansas in 2013, and with Wisconsin in 2011-2012. During his time with the Buckeyes, Ash crafted a top-flight defense, allowing only 22 points per game in 2014 en route to a National Championship, improving to 14 points per game allowed in 2015 while ranking 10th in the nation in yards allowed (303.5). Ash has served in a variety of defensive coaching roles, primarily focusing on the secondary, with stops at Iowa State, San Diego State and Drake, in addition to OSU and Wisconsin.

Ash has his fans in the OTB Editor's room, including Yours Truly:

A name that came out of nowhere, Ash's candidacy seems to be gaining steam. A top-flight defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, his career has followed a similar trajectory to Greg Schiano's early years. Ash brings tons of Big Ten experience from Ohio State and Wisconsin, including a potential glut of assistant coaches ready to take the next step up in their respective careers. He's seen how a first-class organization is run and learned from the best in the business. Most importantly, Ash recently bowed out of the Syracuse coaching search, so he clearly has common sense (that Carrier Dome, right?). Wouldn't it be the greatest thing ever if Ash were to turn down Sorrycuse in order to accept the job at Rutgers and continue the Scarlet Knight's upward trajectory, while Syracuse continues to spiral towards obscurity? Delicious.

...and as Aaron pointed out the other day, OSU losing to Michigan opened the doors for the move:

However, that loss has become a major key in Rutgers search for a new football coach. If Ohio State had won that game, the Buckeyes would be preparing for the Big Ten Championship this weekend in Indianapolis. That would have resulted in limited availability for both Ash and Warinner this week. There also could have been the possibility that Ohio State would not have granted permission for Rutgers to speak with them at all this week, leading up to the game.

We know Ash likes to run an attacking 4-3 defense. For those wondering what kind of offense he is planning on deploying, Scout's Bill Greene has some great insights:

What he told me was to go check out the offense Wisconsin ran the one year they had Russell Wilson at quarterback. That would be his dream offense. Not a full-blown spread attack of Meyer, but not the power running style of Bielema either. A cross between spread and power, with a quarterback that can move around outside the pocket and make plays.

Twitter has exploded with rumors, reactions and hot takes on Rutgers' big hire and we'll continue to report details as we get them. Follow the official On The Banks Twitter account for all the latest.

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