Nick Saban was known as the guru of defensive backs.
The former LSU coach recruited arguably the greatest group of defensive backs over a five-year period in SEC history between 2000-2004. Corey Webster, Travis Daniels, Ronnie Prude, Jack Hunt, LaRon Landry, Jesse Daniels, the list goes on and on.
Les Miles has carried over that tradition of bringing in outstanding defensive backs to LSU. Miles is faced his first major replacement task in filling in the huge voids left by the departure of Landry and Daniels, the Tigers' starting safeties in 2006.
Miles did a great job in replacing Ronnie Prude last season at one of the cornerback spots. Jonathan Zenon stepped in and the Tigers did not miss a beat.
One can only hope that is the case with two new safeties in 2007.
A look back
With two all-American quality safeties, the Tigers secondary was among the best in the nation in 2006. The LSU defensive backs made a habit of making good quarterbacks look bad all of last season.
LSU ranked third in the nation in passing defense (yards allowed) as the Tigers secondary gave up just 145.69 yards per game. In terms of passing efficiency defense (opponent quarterback rating), LSU was also third in the country (92.19).
The Tigers ranked first in the SEC in pass defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense.
Jonathan Zenon and Craig Steltz tied for the team lead in interceptions with four a piece. Zenon returned two of those picks for touchdowns, one a piece in each of the first two games of the season. Landry had three interceptions, including a big one of Quinn against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Landry led the Tigers' defense in tackles with 74 total stops. Chevis Jackson had 46 overall tackles and Jesse Daniels had 47 and Steltz registered 42.
What to look for this spring
With Landry and Daniels headed to the NFL, the two safeties leave LSU with seven years of starting experience. Landry was LSU's starting free safety for all four season and led the 2003 national championship team in total tackles.
Expect Steltz to emerge as LSU's starting strong safety and Curtis Taylor to step in for Landry at the free safety spot. Steltz actually started the Sugar Bowl in place of Daniels, who was serving a suspension for missing curfew. Don't expect much of a drop-off with Steltz in the game. He is a bigger, stronger version of Jack Hunt, who was the Tigers starting strong safety on that 2003 team.
Help is on the way
Help is most definitely on the way in the form of two top flight defensive back prospects.
Chad Jones, the nation's No. 1
safety prospect out of
Also in LSU's talented recruiting
class is four-star prospect Stefoin Francois from
The Tigers picked up three
cornerback prospects in the class of 2007 recruits. One of Miles' biggest steals
Delvin Breaux looks to redshirt
when he arrives from Marrero's
The Tigers first commitment of the
2007 class was
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