Wildcats hire new defensive line coach from Ohio (Football)

Tania Ganguli

Northwestern hired defensive line coach Eric Washington of Ohio University on Tuesday, filling its final coaching vacancy.

He replaces Jay Peterson, who went to Eastern Michigan along with former running backs coach Jeff Genyk and wide receivers coach Howard Feggins. Last month Genyk was named Eastern Michigan’s head coach, while Feggins and Peterson will be his offensive and defensive coordinators.

Current running backs coach Kevin Johns and wide receivers coach Garrick McGee filled the other two spaces.

Washington first coached football at Texas A&M as a graduate assistant in 1997 when the Aggies won the Big IX south division title. He worked for three years as defensive coordinator at the Naval Academy Prepatory School until January of 2001.

DOING IT WRIGHT: The Fellowship of Christian Athletes awarded Jason Wright the first ever Bobby Bowden Athlete of the Year award.

The award, named after the Florida State coach, recognizes five areas inlcuding academics, on-and-off-the-field character, respect for the student body, community participation and on-field ability.

Wright became NU’s third player to have back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons along with Darnell Autry and Damien Anderson. He scored 20 touchdowns and averaged 106.8 yards per game. He finished the season with 1,388 yards total. Wright also took home co-MVP honors at the Dec. 26 Motor City Bowl.

Wright is also the leader of the FCA’s huddle at NU.

FRESHMAN PHENOM: Freshman center Trevor Rees may be the runt of the offensive line, but his performance during the season got the attention of The Sporting News, which named him a first-team freshman All-American.

The Sporting News named four Big Ten freshmen to its first team. In addition to Rees, Purdue offensive tackle Mike Otto, Indiana safety Will Meyers and Michigan State punter Brandon Fields also received the honor.

Rees, who coach Randy Walker once compared to former center Austin King, got his first start against Ohio State on Oct. 27 and has started at center since then. He joined Trai Essex, Zach Strief, Matt Ulrich and Ikechukwu Ndukwe, all of whom will return next year.

Four true freshmen were in NU’s lineup this season — Rees, Trevor Schultz, Nick Roach and Adam Kadela. Rees was the only starter.