clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

LSU Football Team of the Decade: Defense

New, 74 comments

We were pretty good at defense in 2011

SEC Championship Game - Georgia v LSU
Honey f’n Badger

Part two of our All-Decade team brings us to the defense. We’ve had a few good defenses over the past ten years, as you might have noticed.

Again, we have some positional issues, which I will resolve by Poseur Fiat. We’re gonna run a 4-3 defense (sorry, Dave Aranda) mainly due to a glut of defensive tackle candidates. Then, to be fair to the defense, since the offense got 12 slots, so will the defense. And given where we have the deepest positional strength, we’re gonna roll with three corners per team. It’s a cheat, but it matches up with the receivers.

Again, all numbers are career stats.

DEFENSIVE END

FIRST team:

Sam Montgomery (2010-12, All-American, 2x All-SEC, 32.5 TFL, 19 sacks)

Arden Key (2015-17, 2x All-SEC, 24.5 TFL, 20 sacks)

SECOND team:

Barkevious Mingo (2010-12, 29 TFL, 15 sacks)

Danielle Hunter (2012-14, 21 TFL, 4.5 sacks)

We start with a question of positional eligibility. Arden Key was listed as a linebacker in his junior year, and a defensive end in his first All-SEC season. He gets lumped in to the DE’s due to a little longer tenure there, where the other Aranda rush ends get called linebackers. No, it’s not fair, but Arden Key really was awesome enough for two positions, though injuries derailed his final season at LSU.

Speaking of derailed, Sam Montgomery’s pro career might have overshadowed his college career, but we all chose to remember the greatness of Sonic Sam and not hold the NFL against him. He was a near-unanimous #1 selection on our ballots. (PodKATT: Montgomery is currently on the starting roster for the DC XFL team that begins play in a few weeks)

And yes, Danielle Hunter only had 4.5 sacks in college. Go figure.

“Montgomery is undervalued because of how his NFL career went and the strangeness of his behavior. Key could change whole games by his lonesome. He’s the single-season sack leader in LSU history.” — Dan

“Giving Sonic Sam the slight edge for having the longer tenure here — plus he had so many huge moments. Two sacks in GOTC in 2011, part of the big announcement game that year over Oregon. Helping put South Carolina away in that big 2012 upset. Arden Key will always have that beastly 2016, but then there were all the issues that followed.” — Billy

Kind of incredible what Hunter has done in the NFL in comparison to his college career.” (Evan)

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

FIRST team:

Drake Nevis (2007-2010, All-SEC, 139 tkl, 31.5 TFL)

Michael Brockers (2010-11, 79 tkl, 11 TFL)

SECOND team:

Bennie Logan (2010-12, 107 tkl, 12.5 TFL)

Davon Gaudchaux (2014-16, 139 tkl, 19 TFL, 12.5 sacks)

OK, Nevis is a bit of a cheat, but even if you only count his 2010 season, it’s still pretty great. His second season with 10+ TFL, and he even managed an interception. Besides, Brockers went pro after his sophomore season, and we didn’t hold it against him.

We pour one out for Anthony “the Freak” Johnson and surprisingly, Christian LaCouture, who didn’t make the cut. And, seriously, how loaded as the 2011 line? All four starters made our All-Decade squad.

“Nevis and Godchaux are similarly active disrupters that played with a ton of effort. LSU record books disagree with the Nevis tackle for loss numbers posted here, but still, he was a linebacker playing on the defensive line.” — Dan

“Let the record reflect that Bennie Logan was a bad mofo, and should be at the tops of the ‘(insert player) was just a three-star’ list. Michael Brockers was low-key dominant as well, taking up double teams and freeing up Logan, Montgomery, Mingo and the rest. Drake Nevis was also a fantastic one-gap guy in 2010. Anthony Johnson was an amazing flash, but unfortunately he never really delivered on the promise of that freshman season.” — Billy

LINEBACKER

FIRST team:

Devin White (2016-18, All-American, 2x All-SEC, Butkus, 286 tkl, 28.5 TFL, 1 INT)

K’Lavon Chaisson (2017-19, All-SEC, 92 tkl, 19 TFL, 9.5 sacks)

Kelvin Sheppard (2007-10, All-SEC, 311 tkl, 26 TFL, 2 INT)

SECOND team:

Kevin Minter (2010-12, All-SEC, 206 tkl, 18.5 TFL, 1 INT)

Kendell Beckwith (2013-16, All-SEC, 263 tkl, 24.5 TFL, 1 INT)

Deion Jones (2012-15, 164 tkl, 21 TFL, 2 INT)

The only bigger slam dunk was Joe Burrow. Devin White at least has some competition for the title of the greatest linebacker in LSU history, and that’s only for era adjusted guys like Warren Capone. True story, I told my mom before his junior year to take time in every game just to watch him, because he will go down as the best LB in LSU history. He didn’t disappoint. Chaisson is kind of surprise addition as our top non-Devin vote-getter, but voting was super tight and though he lost a lot of time to injury, he gets a lot of points for leadership. Beckwith was simply a tackling machine, even if he did play for four seasons to goose those numbers a tad.

I do think Debo is getting a bit of a halo effect for his stellar NFL career, bumping guys like Kwon Alexander and Jacob Phillips off the ballot. But he did come into his own in his senior year. Voting was crazy, as Debo’s votes spread from second to seventh. And that wasn’t even the biggest spread (Minter’s spread was second to eighth). Kwon missed the cut, and his votes spanned from third to seventh overall. After White, it’s almost a tie for second, to be honest.

Devin White is the greatest linebacker in LSU history and has a case for greatest single defender in LSU history. He could alter a game by himself. Chaisson doesn’t have the counting stats of the others, but his impact was so off the charts that he should be thought of in rarefied air. He will be a top pass rusher in the league in short order.” — Dan

“Easily the easiest No. 1 choice here. Devin White is the greatest linebacker in LSU history. Kevin Minter’s 2012 was outstanding, and we literally got the see the difference in that team without him against Florida. Kwon is a sneaky choice for putting together some incredibly balanced years. He did a bit of everything. I’m inclined to list Beckwith over Debo due to overall career, but Debo’s 2015 is way up there.” — Billy

SAFETY

FIRST team:

Jamal Adams (2014-16, All-SEC, 209 tkl, 18 TFL, 5 INT)

Grant Delpit (2017-19, All-American, 2x All-SEC, Thorpe, 199 tkl, 17.5 TFL, 8 INT)

SECOND team:

Eric Reid (2010-12, All-American, All-SEC, 199 tkl, 4.5 TFL, 6 INT)

Brandon Taylor (2008-11, 160 tkl, 12.5 TFL, 4 INT)

It was a three-way race, and Reid lost out. I am surprised Jamal beat out Delpit, who won the Thorpe Award the year after he should won it, but Adams was also a force of nature. We bypassed the awards and went for Adams’ slightly higher production. It’s razor thin between the two.

The last spot was a virtual tie, but my beloved Responsible Adult of the 2011 defense made the cut, as Brandon Taylor was the eye of the hurricane of chaos that was the 2011 secondary. Not to spoil the corners, but every starting member of the 2011 secondary made the cut. Jacoby Stevens just missed out, which causes me physical pain, but that’s kind of what happens to Swiss Army knife guys who play all over.

Jamal Adams is the best safety and could do everything you asked: blitz, cover, hit... you name it. Delpit was similar in his all-consuming manner, even if injuries derailed his 2019. He earned that victory lap of awards in 2019 by being singularly dominant in 2018.” — Paul

Grant Delpit gets the No. 1 spot because nothing on this list compares to his 2018 with five sacks AND five interceptions. Jamal Adams was special in a similar way. I’ll always have a soft spot for Brandon Taylor as a leader, and as a kid I covered in high school. Loston and Jacoby Stevens had special years but they can’t match the guys at the top for overall tenure.” — Billy

Now, let’s get to the main event…

CORNERBACK

FIRST team:

Patrick Peterson (2008-10, All-American, All-SEC, Bednarik, Thorpe, 7 INT, 19 PD)

Tyrann Mathieu (2010-11, All-American, All-SEC, Bednarik, 4 INT, 16 PD, 16 TFL, 11 FF)

Morris Claibourne (2009-11, All-American, Thorpe, 11 INT, 9 PD)

SECOND team:

Tre White (2013-16, All-American, All-SEC, 6 INT, 34 PD, 11 TFL)

Derek Stingley (2019, All-SEC, 6 INT, 15 PD)

Greedy Williams (2017-18, All-American, All-SEC, 8 INT, 19 PD)

A clean sweep for the 2010-11 secondary. We should write songs about that defense. I sincerely believe that in 2011, LSU had a defensive secondary better than some NFL teams, and that’s AFTER losing Patrick Peterson to the draft. Hell, Claiborne is almost an afterthought and he won the Thorpe Award. It’s hard to choose between the Honey Badger and Zod. Mathieu was the single most disruptive player I have ever seen on defense. But… Peterson was almost literally perfect. Kneel before Zod.

Think about this, an All-American with 8 interceptions only made our team because we expanded the selection to six total players. That’s an absurd amount of talent to come through DBU. And let’s be honest, I expect to see Derek Stingley on the 2030 version of this article. He might be the greatest ever, but he is still writing that legacy.

“Patrick Peterson is the Godfather and Tyrann Mathieu is his apprentice. Mathieu wreaked havoc every time he took the field. In 2011, he was always good for “I’m gonna kick over the rock that’s gonna start the landslide in this game.” I put Stingley third. He will finish 1st. I said what I said.” — Paul

“How many No. 1 choices can I have? Call this Corey (Raymond)’s Choice. Peterson was a force of nature, but then Tyrann Mathieu came behind him and did it better, but only because he was so much more than a cornerback. Mo Claiborne was the best pure cornerback on his team, and then you have guys like Greedy and Shaq White that were so good you have to leave Derek Stingley off after the best freshman year of anybody on this list.” — Billy

My God, it’s full of stars. Let’s now have a nice comedown with the specialists

KICKER

FIRST team: Josh Jasper (2007-10. All-SEC, 47/56)

SECOND team: Cole Tracy (2018, All-SEC, 29/33)

PUNTER

FIRST team: Brad Wing (2011-12, All-American, All-SEC, 44.6 avg)

SECOND team: Zach von Rosenberg (2017-19, 43.9 avg)

We went with career steadiness over the one-year wonder for the kicker, and the opposite way for the punter. Tracy kicked one of the biggest field goals in school and history and Wing… well…

Poll

How did we do in assembling LSU’s All-Decade Team?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Great! I agree with all of your choices!
    (207 votes)
  • 60%
    Good! Hey, I disagree with some stuff, but they were close calls that could have gone either way
    (375 votes)
  • 3%
    Meh.
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Bad! You suck! This is outrageous! How could you forget...
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! This list is literally worse than Hitler. It is the Nick Saban of lists.
    (11 votes)
619 votes total Vote Now