Updated: May 23
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
For decades, LSU's playmaking DBs weren't just stud corners and brawling safeties who we loved to watch wreck and ruin SEC rivals...they weren't merely our heroes or center of attention:
They became our quarterbacks before Burrow, Mettenberger, Russell, Hodgson or Wickersham: the frequency of their created turnovers were always left to decide contests in the pre-2018 era...
Names like three-time All-American Tommy Casanova (one of only three Tigers to have their number retired), Willie Teal leading the Soul Patrol, superfreak Cedric Donaldson singlehandedly taking down Florida, Dwayne Thomas' merciless instincts, Jerry Stovall, Mark Roman, Eugene Daniel, Curtis and Brandon Taylor...
The names are etched in our minds forever...we were raised believing "defense truly won championships"...yet we only started winning titles once DBU opened its doors.
Our offense existed and profited solely due to the field position our DBs' earned (via interceptions, punts / kickoffs, fumble recoveries or 4th down stops), these post-turnover free-for-all's becoming an invaluable and too often relied upon facet of our pre-2018 Tigers....(ya know, before we hired a guy like Coach Orgeron who had no problem reaching for the stars, grabbing one of em and throwing it at Saban).
DBU grew out of a two generation-spanning fight-for-your-life / ride-or-die synthesis of badasses with their backs against the wall, defending for their lives against a score (and their own offense's playbook) inevitably stacked against them, a refereeing crew who were usually on their backs throughout...just looking for any reason to throw those flags (PI, holding or targeting, these lunatics with their hands on the trigger always found a way to try and spoil it for our guys)....
Instead, the graduates of DBU persevered and adapted their game...remaining one step ahead.
If college football were a singular, defense-only game, LSU would have 35 national championships by this point...and we can't forget the overwhelming debt we owe each and every one of the members of DBU...they're all important, you wouldn't believe the torture of leaving names off this list.
22 defensive backs drafted in the NFL (37 total who've played professionally), six #1 picks, 7 Pro Bowlers, 4 All-Pro, 3 DBs in the NFL Top 100, 2 in the NFL All Decade team, averaging 4.16 years per career in NFL....with a few more in 2020 nearing 1et-3rd round selections...
How could we possibly separate one from the other, especially at the top?
As much as we have our favorites, we needed to do this list justice...in the only way we could do this:
THE DBU METRIC...a system of calculation not defined by statistics, but a DB's overall impact and influence in swinging games towards LSU's favor...whether that be low opposition completion percentages, defensive touchdowns or game-changing sacks, fumbles or special teams shenanigans...
This takes our individual opinion out of the equation to a degree...so please...don't blame us...completely...😂
We present... The 10 Best of DBU:
10. COREY RAYMOND
(1 INT TD)
6 SEASONS IN THE NFL (NYGiants / Lions)
2 NATIONAL TITLES AS ASSISTANT COACH
First he was a stud on the Retro Fighting Tigers (back when they actually let you fight on the field) showing everyone how it's done...now, he's teaching the new specimen of DBU exactly what it takes.
He knows all too well...
As a coach of LSU's DBs since 2012, no single coach has had more of a definitive impact on the culture, vibe, world class results and the world-reknowned brand of DBU.
To illustrate his stamp on DBU, Raymond coached guys such as Greedy Williams, Tre'Davious White, Dwayne Thomas, Jamal Adams (isn't that enough pedigree? Oh you need more? Ok!), Derek Stingley Jr, Kristian Fulton, Jalen Collins, Donte Jackson, Jalen Mills, Kelvin Joseph, Rashard Robinson, that's not counting guys he mentored on the 2007/08 title-winning team too, dudes like Craig Steltz or then-freshman Chad Jones (while Raymond stalked the sidelines as an assistant strength and conditioning coach alongside the legendary Tommy Moffitt)...
....that's 8 guys who've played in the NFL, two who are about to and a couple who should've but were criminally robbed of that chance (Thomas specifically).
Still, after an SEC-leading 17 INTs last year and #2 opposition completion percentage in the country on their way to their G.O.A.T title, Raymond is long from finished instituting DBU.
Already ignoring a vast array of offers & promotions from many schools, Corey remains happy and committed building something much bigger than the sum of its parts at his alma mater...
Raymond's most impressive achievement must be how he institutionalized the greatness at DBU during our biggest secondary transition in recent years.
While DBU reps Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne and Eric Reid's continuing greatness in the NFL shined the spotlight on our bevy of past heroes and professional warriors, their absence was an overwhelming project for a 1st year assistant.
Though Raymond didn't coach that 2009-2011 class of superfreaks, he's helped mould prototypes in their shape year after year ever since their departure.
No matter how many All-Americans or NFL-ready talent LSU lose to any single NFL Draft (such as the heavy toll our secondary took after the 2012 NFL Draft), Corey knows how to rebuild the establishment of DBU through a never-ending recruiting pipeline.
Starting as DBs Coach in 2012, Corey's first order of business was to restore the most depleted secondary in recent LSU memory:
After the suspension of Mathieu and the drafting of Ron Brooks, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Taylor, Corey grew into a savvy, creative coach immediately....his own personal success depended on this newfound knack for unorthodox solutions.
Re-building around the only two remaining starters of the 2011 secondary, Safeties Eric Reid, Craig Loston and cornerback Tharold Simon, Corey's brilliance became revealed once he identified freshman Dwayne Thomas as the roaming "Mathieu" profie of the secondary.
Ever since 2012, Corey evolved just as much as the defensive backs he coached, preaching an embrace of change and a rapid response to altering (sometimes chaotic) circumstances as the #1 gift found within the best DBs...
And year by year, Coach Raymond has only grown in stature, status and wisdom, all while reproducing the same carbon copy, versatile DB specimen on the NFL prowl...
Coach Raymond is unequivocally the
Mr. Miyagi of DBU....
TURNOVER POINTS: 10
LSU GRADE: 8.5/10
NFL GRADE 6/10
COMPOSITE DBU SCORE: 24.5
OUR SCORE: 25.5 (PLAYER) 50.5 (COACH)
#9 & #8 COMING TOMORROW!
I wanna give a personal shoutout to one of my dear friends, Jamie Chavanne, @BayouTigerGal give her a follow.
She is the mother of LSU ODYSSEY!
We love you, Jamie! Keep pushin!
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN