Corey Raymond Hired as LSU's New Defensive Backs Coach

The official announcement came down today, via Michael Bonnette:

Former LSU standout Corey Raymond has joined the Tiger coaching staff as defensive backs coach, Les Miles announced on Tuesday.

Raymond, a 1992 graduate of LSU, replaces Ron Cooper, who resigned last week to take a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL.

This will be Raymond's second stint in Baton Rouge as an assistant coach, after serving as an intern/strength and conditioning assistant from 2006-2008. From there he spent two years coaching defensive backs at Utah State before joining former LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini's Nebraska staff last season.

Filling out the résumé:

Raymond returns to LSU after spending the 2011 season as the secondary coach at Nebraska. In his one season with the Cornhuskers, Raymond coached a Nebraska secondary that featured the 2011 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year in Alfonzo Dennard. Despite inheriting a group that lost four starters from the season before, including three NFL Draft picks, Raymond's secondary helped Nebraska rank No. 18 in the nation in pass defense in 2011.

Prior to his one-year stint in Lincoln, Raymond served as the cornerbacks coach for two seasons at Utah State. Raymond's top pupil at Utah State was that of Curtis Marsh, who earned All-WAC honors and later went on to become a third-round pick in the NFL draft.

In terms of pass-defense efficiency (which I generally think is a better measure than total pass defense), the Huskers dipped from third nationally (coincidentally exactly where LSU was ranked in 2011) to 34th. The 120.42 rating Nebraska allowed to opposing quarterbacks would have ranked them in the bottom quarter of the SEC. Husker Mike of SBN's Nebraska affiliate Corn Nation weighs in:

While I wish Raymond the best at LSU, I'm not completely sorry to see him leave. From my perspective, secondary play last season took a huge step backward, and that's not all because of the departure of Prince Amukamura or the injuries to Alfonzo Dennard. All season long we saw more mental mistakes from the secondary than we ever saw from any Pelini defense. Who knows how Pelini felt deep-down about Raymond's performance, but it's hard to overlook the fact that Raymond was the only assistant coach to not receive a pay raise after the last season.

How much of the dip in play is due to Raymond and how much of it is the limitations of Nebraska's personnel, there's no real way to know (I'll reserve my opinions of Bo Pelini for the moment). But this much is clear -- Raymond fits a similar profile to the recent hiring of Adam Henry as LSU's new wide receivers coach, and of Thomas McGaughey last year as well. A younger guy with local ties (Raymond is a native of New Iberia) with something of a reputation for hitting the recruiting trail hard. Honestly, in terms of coaching and teaching, Raymond is almost certainly a step back from Cooper, but almost any other DB coach would be. Over the last two years LSU's had three All-American cornerbacks that between them have earned two Thorpe and Bednarick awards, and by the end of May two will have been top-10 NFL draft picks. Plus another two more DBs that will likely be drafted in this class.

However, the staff could certainly use another go-getter on the recruiting trail. Cooper did most of his work with a fantastic eye for talent in the players that came to LSU's camps, but he rarely pressed the flesh out on the road. Raymond recruited Louisiana for Nebraska, and even secured Debo Jones' commitment in the fall before LSU offered, and his Rivals.com profile suggests contacts on either coast, especially in Florida. Six years of NFL experience is a pretty good selling point (and I'm sure he picked up a few coaching tips as well), both with recruits and current college kids. And Raymond will definitely be sending a few more on to the pros in the coming years, as he inherits a loaded group that not only returns the 2011 Bednarick Award winner in Tyrann Mathieu, but two more emerging stars in Eric Reid and Tharold Simon.

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