After an extensive search for Bo Pelini’s replacement as the defensive coordinator, the LSU Tigers have finally landed their man. Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones will be taking over for Pelini after only one season.
The news comes from Bruce Feldman with The Athletic late on Monday afternoon.
SOURCE: #Vikings DB coach Daronte Jones is expected to become the new DC at #LSU. Jones, a protege of Dave Aranda coached under the ex Tigers DC when he was at Wisconsin. Jones, who spent the day interviewing w/ Ed Orgeron, was DC for 5 yrs at Bowie St. and had the No. 1 D in D2.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 25, 2021
Jones was only in Minnesota for one season as well. Prior to that, he had two-year stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. The hire comes after Jones spent the last couple of days in Baton Rouge with Coach Ed Orgeron.
While his most recent experience comes from the NFL, Jones has spent plenty of time at the collegiate level. As Feldman points out, he was the defensive coordinator for Bowie State, a Division II school, for five seasons. He’s also had stops at Wisconsin, Hawaii and UCLA, as well as the CFL.
The Wisconsin stop is what must’ve been the ringer, however. That is where Jones shared time with former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who is now the head coach at Baylor. The drop-off from Aranda to Pelini was noticeable, and that is ultimately what caused the switch after only one season.
Is LSU trying to recapture the Aranda days? It’s possible.
Jones should have plenty of talent to work with. Yes, a few positions will lack experience once again, but there’s still plenty of former top prospects to work with from recruiting and returning players.
The strength should be in the secondary, with Derek Stingley, Cordale Flott, Elias Ricks and Todd Harris Jr. all returning. The top three players in LSU’s 2021 recruiting class all came on the defense as well, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
- Maason Smith, DT (5-star / No. 18 overall / No. 2 DT)
- Sage Ryan, S (5-star / No. 28 overall / No. 2 S)
- Derrick Davis Jr., S (4-star / No. 58 overall / No. 3 S)
Despite the steady decline from 2019-20, the Tigers might have enough to start the bounce back, as long as Jones proves he’s the right guy to lead them.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.