LSU Football: Tigers predicted to have a top 10 defense in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

LSU football wasn’t very good defensively in 2020.

It was one of the biggest reasons for the Tigers’ 5-5 record last season.

Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron hired Bo Pelini after the 2019 season — when previous defensive coordinator Dave Aranda left Baton Rouge to become the head coach at Baylor — with the hopes of taking LSU’s defense to an elite level.

That didn’t end up happening.

In 2019, LSU won a national championship with the No. 32 scoring defense in the nation.

This past season, under Pelini, the Tigers had the No. 98 scoring defense in the nation.

Losing key players to the 2020 NFL Draft certainly contributed to LSU’s defensive struggles. But more than anything, it was clear that Pelini wasn’t a good fit on the Tigers’ coaching staff.

After the 2020 season, Orgeron parted ways with Pelini and hired Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones to serve as LSU’s new defensive coordinator.

It’s a move that’s expected to pay huge dividends for the Tigers.

Could LSU football have a top 10 defense in 2021?

I think nearly everyone who follows the SEC closely expects LSU’s defense to be a lot better in 2021 than it was in 2020.

Returning experience, combined with a defensive coordinator that’s a better fit, should instantly improve the Tigers’ defense.

But will LSU’s defense improve so much that it’s a top 10 defense in 2021?

247Sports believes that could be the case.

Brad Crawford, who covers college football for 247Sports, recently revealed his prediction for the top 10 defenses in college football in 2021 and he included the Tigers.

“LSU hit rock bottom defensively last season, dead last in the FBS ranks against the pass, so the Tigers have a reputation to repair in the SEC after getting embarrassed several times,” wrote Crawford. “They certainly have the talent to get it done and Orgeron hopes a new DC brings with him a scheme that caters to his athletes’ strengths.”

Next. Bo Bordelon is an important commit for LSU. dark

I definitely think the Tigers’ defense will be much improved in 2021.

But top 10?

That’s probably a bit of a stretch — especially with a first-time defensive coordinator.

But hey, college football can be unpredictable. Maybe Crawford will be right. LSU fans certainly hope he is.