The month long search for a defensive coordinator appears to finally be coming to a close. LSU officially announced the hiring of Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones as its next defensive coordinator.
"I want to thank Coach Orgeron, athletic director Scott Woodard and the administration for this opportunity," Jones said. "I am blessed and thankful to be part of the LSU family, community, and the strong traditions of this program. Geaux Tigers.
On Monday, The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported that the LSU program was expected to name Jones the defensive coordinator.
"Daronte is a great addition to our staff," Orgeron said. "We did a lot of research and talked to a lot of coaches including Dave (Aranda) and every person we spoke with raved about his knowledge and passion for the game. He's going to bring tremendous energy to our defense and he will put our players in position to make plays, no matter the situation or scheme. Daronte spent a year working with Dave (Aranda) at Wisconsin and he's learned from some of the best in the game during his five years in the NFL and I know that he's going to do a great job with our defense. I'm excited he's going to be an LSU Tiger."
Jones will take over a defense that ranked 124th in the country during the 2020 season. Jones has spent the last five years in the NFL as a secondary/defensive backs coach, most recently with the Vikings for two seasons and the Cincinnati Bengals before that.
He's spent the last 18 years coaching football at various levels, including stops in the early 2000's at Jeanerette and Franklin high schools right here in Louisiana.
He also served as the defensive backs coach for Wisconsin back in 2015 under then Badger defensive coordinator Aranda.
The Tigers have been looking to fill this position for over a month, one that Ed Orgeron has said repeatedly he'd like to take his time with, though he probably would've preferred the job be filled by this point.
“When I look at a candidate, I want to see how the players are going to feel. Number one. Is he going to be able to connect to the players. That’s one of the most important things as a coach. I want to protect our players and have a coach who’s going to love them but who is also going to make them better," Orgeron said.
"When that coach gets up in front of our offense or defense, is he going to have a presence? Number two is fundamentals. I’m a fundamental guy. Whether it’s a 4-3 or 3-4, me personally I think you have to have both with the (modern) offenses. I didn’t see anyone shutting down these offenses this year. As defensive coaches we have to learn how to do it. I’ve interviewed some coaches who have some very good ideas, but I haven’t found the right fit yet. But we’re going to.”
Of course this month long search has had it's fair share of ups and downs. The Tigers interviewed Marcus Freeman, Zach Arnett and offered New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen the position as well before ultimately missing out because of language in his contract that kept him in New Orleans.
With bringing Jones aboard, the Tigers will stay consistent with finding a younger coach looking to move up the ranks as this hire will ultimately be the biggest decision Ed Orgeron has made in his tenure.