The young and talented group of cornerbacks recruited Jason Washington over the last several years will have a new coach next season, as new Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Chris Ash opted not to retain the cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator, Washington told Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman on Friday.
The leading candidate to replace Washington, according to multiple reports, is Rutgers cornerbacks coach Jay Valai, who spent two years in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and two years as a quality control coach at Georgia. His hire by Texas is apparently imminent enough that Rutgers removed his bio from their website.
Washington first met Texas head coach Tom Herman when they worked together at Texas State in 2006, then Rice in 2007 and 2008. When Herman took his first head coaching job at Houston, he hired Washington as his cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator. With the Longhorns, Washington assumed the role of recruiting coordinator.
Under Washington, the Texas cornerbacks turned in big plays after his arrival, returning five interceptions for a touchdown in 2017. In all, Washington has sent 10 players to the NFL during his coaching career, but the cornerbacks didn’t develop quickly enough under his tutelage in 2019 as the entire defense struggled.
The biggest impact on the program following Washington’s departure may be the new recruiting coordinator — Texas has recruited at a high level under Herman, but there’s a next step to take that would position the Longhorns with the type of blue-chip ratio required to win a national championship.