LSU hires Minnesota Vikings' Daronte Jones as defensive coordinator

LSU has hired Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones as defensive coordinator, the school announced Tuesday.

Jones, who completed his first season with the Vikings after two seasons with both the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins, replaces Bo Pelini, who was fired after just one year at LSU. As ESPN first reported, Jones met Sunday and Monday in Baton Rouge with LSU coach Ed Orgeron and others.

"I want thank Coach Orgeron, athletic director Scott Woodard and the administration for this opportunity," Jones said in a news release. "I am blessed and thankful to be part of the LSU family, community, and the strong traditions of this program. Geaux Tigers."

Jones last coached in college in 2015, when he worked with Wisconsin's defensive backs under coordinator Dave Aranda, who left following the season to become LSU's defensive coordinator. Jones, 41, also coached defensive backs at Hawaii, UCLA and with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. His last coordinator experience came at Division II Bowie State, where he oversaw three top-five defenses in five seasons.

"Daronte is a great addition to our staff," Orgeron said in the release. "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."

A former defensive back at Morgan State, Jones also served as defensive coordinator at two Louisiana high schools in 2003 and 2004.

LSU initially targeted University of Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who instead took the coordinator vacancy at Notre Dame. The school then pursued New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, who played defensive line for Orgeron at USC and later coached under him at Ole Miss. But Nielsen instead remained with the Saints and received a new three-year contract and the title of assistant head coach, sources said.

After winning the national title in 2019, LSU went 5-5 last season and finished 98th nationally in points allowed and 124th in yards allowed.