LSU reached back into the NFL for its latest coaching staff addition as the Tigers have tabbed Daronte Jones as defensive coordinator, head coach Ed Orgeron announced on Tuesday.
Jones, who coached with former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda for one season at Wisconsin in 2015, has spent the past five years in the NFL, most recently as the defensive backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings. His other NFL stops have come with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins.
“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 joined the Vikings after two years coaching the secondary for the Cincinnati Bengals (2018-19) and two years as assistant defensive backs coach with the Miami Dolphins (2016-17).
“I want 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.”
In his one season with the Vikings, Minnesota ranked among the top 10 in the NFL in interceptions with 15. Safety Harrison Smith led the Vikings and ranked No. 5 in the NFL in interceptions with a career-best five. In his two years with the Bengals, he was instrumental in the development of cornerback Darius Phillips, who led Cincinnati with four interceptions in 2019 in only eight games.
As assistant defensive backs coach with the Dolphins from 2016-17, Jones worked with safety Reshad Jones, who led the Dolphins in tackles with 122 and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2017. In his first year with the Dolphins in 2016, the Miami defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL in interceptions with 16 and the franchise finished fourth in the league in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only 36.1 percent of its attempts.
Prior to the NFL, Jones served as defensive backs coach for Aranda’s defense at the University of Wisconsin in 2015, as the Badgers led the nation with just seven passing touchdowns allowed. Wisconsin’s passing defense ranked second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally, allowing 173.2 pass yards per game.
From 2012-14, Jones served as the secondary coach at the University of Hawaii, adding the title of assistant head coach in 2014. Jones helped improve Hawaii’s passing defense by 62.1 yards per game, as the Rainbow Warriors went from 85th nationally in 2011 to the nation’s 11th-best pass defense in 2012.
A native of Capital Heights, Maryland, Jones has earlier coaching stops with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 2011 as the defensive backs coach and with UCLA in 2010 as the cornerbacks coach. Jones was named assistant head coach/defensive coordinator at Bowie State from 2005-09 where his defenses finished among the top five in the nation three times.
Prior to his time at Bowie State, Jones served as defensive coordinator at two Louisiana high schools — Jeanerette (2004) and Franklin (2003). He also spent the 2002 season coaching safeties at Nicholls State after beginning his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina. Jones played four seasons as a defensive back at Morgan State before earning his bachelor’s degree in 2001.
Daronte Jones Coaching History
2001 Lenoir-Rhyne (graduate assistant)
2002 Nicholls State (safeties)
2003 Franklin (La.) High School (defensive coordinator)
2004 Jeanerette (La.) High School (defensive coordinator)
2005-09 Bowie State (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator)
2010 UCLA (cornerbacks)
2011 Montreal Alouettes (defensive backs)
2012-14 Hawaii (secondary, 2012-13; assistant head coach/secondary, 2014)
2015 Wisconsin (defensive backs)
2016-17 Miami Dolphins (assistant defensive backs)
2018-19 Cincinnati Bengals (secondary/cornerbacks)
2020 Minnesota Vikings (defensive backs)
2021 LSU (defensive coordinator)