Notre Dame could be out a running backs coach and its best recruiter.
Irish Illustrated has learned that Tony Alford is a target for Urban Meyer at Ohio State as the defending national champions look to fill the staff vacancy created when Stan Drayton left the Buckeyes the day after National Signing Day for the Chicago Bears.
Alford just completed his sixth year at Notre Dame as the lone holdover from the Charlie Weis regime. He was the only assistant coach retained by Brian Kelly upon his arrival. Alford has coached running backs and receivers under Kelly and took on the title of recruiting coordinator in 2012.
Tasked with recruiting Florida, Alford has been integral in landing Louis Nix, Aaron Lynch, Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston, Dexter Williams, Corey Holmes and Tevon Coney, along with a handful of other prospects. Each had offers from in-state schools and three of them were committed to local programs before flipping to Notre Dame.
Alford has been a target of Meyer before, with their connections dating back nearly a quarter century. Alford’s senior year at Colorado State synced with Meyer’s first season as receivers coach in Fort Collins. Meyer spent six seasons there before taking the same position at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz.
If Meyer needed a more updated recommendation on Alford, he could turn to offensive coordinator Ed Warinner or fullbacks/tight ends coach Tim Hinton. Both were on Kelly’s first staff at Notre Dame with Alford before departing for Columbus after two seasons.
If Alford departs he would follow defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks and quarterback coach Matt LaFleur out the door in a tumultuous off-season within the Irish coaching staff. Cooks left for Oklahoma, with the Irish staff able to manage that move before National Signing Day. LaFleur will make an NFL return, joining the Atlanta Falcons staff with his brother, as first reported by Irish Illustrated on National Signing Day.
Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was also rumored to exit the program this off-season for the defensive coordinator position with the Oakland Raiders. A source told Irish Illustrated that VanGorder would remain in South Bend. The Raiders filled their defensive coordinator post with Ken Norton Jr.
Resolution on Alford’s future with the Irish is expected by early next week.