During the seasons of 2010 through 2019, LSU produced dozens of talented players. Several won national awards. A sizable number of them finished in the top 10 of multiple defensive statistical categories within the Southeastern Conference. A few even were among the top 10 nationally. The following are the most outstanding defenders of the decade.
Arden Key (2015-17)
Key accounted for the second highest number of sacks (11) in the SEC in 2016. He holds LSU’s record for most sacks in a season in that year. The AP chose him as a First Team All-SEC defensive end. The coaches selected him for the Second Team.
Key struggled with injuries in his final year in Baton Rouge. Despite that, the AP named Key to the 2017 First Team All-SEC list as a linebacker. He finished his years at LSU tied for third most sacks in a career (21).
Sam Montgomery (2010-12)
Montgomery tied for fourth place in LSU’s record book for sacks in a season (nine in 2011). He finished in sixth place in the SEC standings during that season in terms of sacks and fumbles forced (two). The AP and coaches nominated him as First Team All-SEC.
The following season, he led the team with eight sacks. He recorded 13 tackles for loss, fifth most in the entire SEC. The coaches chose him for First Team All-SEC. The AP named him to the Second Team All-SEC. He finished his career tied for seventh place for career sacks (19) at LSU.
Anthony Johnson (2011-13)
After Johnson’s first season, he was named to the Freshmen All-American teams by CBS Sports and Sporting News.
As a sophomore, he finished third among the Tigers with ten tackles for loss. He missed the season finale and bowl game in 2012.
In 2013, he recorded three sacks, tied for second most on the team. He led the Tigers in terms of tackles for loss with nine. He was chosen for the AP and coaches’ Second Team All-SEC honors.
Barkevious Mingo (2009-2012)
In Mingo’s first year, he had nine passes defensed, ranking ninth best in the SEC. He also forced two fumbles, sixth best.
His 15 tackles for loss ranked as the third highest total in the SEC in 2011. He also recorded eight sacks, seventh most in the SEC. The Associated Press chose him for the Second Team All-SEC.
In 2012, he had 4.5 sacks, ranking second best among the defense. His three passes defensed were tied for the second most on the team. The AP and coaches designated him as Second Team All-SEC.
Devin White (2016-18)
In 2017, he finished with the fourth most tackles in a season (133) in the history of LSU’s program. That total ranked second highest in the SEC and tenth highest in the FBS. He finished fourth in the SEC in the category of tackles for loss with 14. His 96 assisted tackles were the most in the FBS.
He compiled 123 total tackles, the eighth most ever in a season at LSU, in 2018. That number topped the category in the SEC for that season. He also finished with the most assisted tackles in the SEC during the season with 61. He was a consensus All-American. These accomplishments earned him the Dick Butkus Award.
Kevin Minter (2009-12)
In Minter’s final year, he finished fifth on LSU’s list of most tackles in a season (130). He also tied the second highest number of tackles in a game (20 at Florida). He had the most assisted tackles in the SEC with 75. His 14 tackles for loss were the fourth highest total in the conference that season. At the end of that year, the AP and coaches chose him for their First-Team All-SEC selections.
Kendall Beckwith (2013-16)
Beckwith appeared in all 13 games during the 2014 season. He finished second on the team in total tackles with 77. His 7.5 tackles for loss were tied for second most.
He had the second highest number of tackles (84) and tackles for loss (10) among LSU’s defense in 2015. He was the only defender for the Tigers who forced more than one fumble.
In 2016, he finished with the second highest number of assisted tackles (58) and the ninth most total tackles (91) in the SEC. The AP named him to the Second Team All-SEC. The coaches selected him as First Team All-SEC.
Andraez “Greedy” Williams (2016-18)
Williams’ six interceptions tied the LSU record for seventh most in a season in 2017. He had the most interceptions in the SEC and fourth most in the FBS in that season. The AP chose him for the All-SEC First Team while the coaches tabbed him for the Second Team.
In 2018, he had nine passes defended, the eighth highest total in the SEC. Both the AP and coaches selected him for their First Team All-SEC teams. He was a consensus All-American.
Morris Claiborne (2009-11)
In 2010, Claiborne finished third in the SEC in terms of interceptions (five) and sixth in interception return yards with 101. At the end of the season, he was selected Second Team All-SEC by the AP and coaches.
In 2011, he finished tied for seventh most interceptions in a season (6) in the history of LSU’s program. That number was the third most interceptions in the SEC that year. He led the SEC in interception return yards with 173. Both the AP and coaches chose him as First Team All-SEC plus the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Voters made him a consensus All-American. He took home the Jim Thorpe Award. He ended his career tied for sixth most interceptions in a career (11) at LSU.
Tyrann Mathieu (2010-11)
In 2010, Mathieu played in all 13 games as a true freshman. He forced five fumbles, most in the SEC. He finished sixth in the SEC in terms of passes defensed with seven.
In his second season, he forced six fumbles, topping the category in the SEC and fourth best in the FBS. He won the Chuck Bednarik Award. The AP and coaches named him as First Team All-SEC. Additionally, he earned consensus All-American honors. He finished fifth in the Heisman balloting.
Grant Delpit (2017-19)
Delpit played in every game of his freshman season and started in ten. He accounted for 60 tackles. He recorded at least one tackle in every game. Three and a half of those were for a loss.
As a sophomore, he had the most interceptions (five) and second most passes defended (14) in the SEC. His three interceptions versus Mississippi State tied an LSU record for most in a game. Both the coaches and Associated Press named him to the First Team All-SEC team. He was voted as a consensus All-American then received the Jack Tatum Award.
In 2019, the coaches selected him for the First Team All-SEC. The AP Press named him to the Second Team All-SEC. He won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2019. He was again voted as a consensus All-American.
Punter: Brad Wing (2011-12)
During his time in Baton Rouge, he punted 118 times. He averaged 44.6 yards per punt. That was the highest average in the past 20 years for an LSU punter. In 2011, his average of 44.4 yards per punt was the second highest in the SEC.
Punt returner: Tyrann Mathieu (2010-11)
In 2011, the “Honey Badger” returned 27 punts for an average of 15.6 yards per attempt (fifth highest average in the FBS) and two touchdowns. His 421 punt return yards in that season were the second most in the SEC and third most in the FBS.
Plethora of Talent
Of these 12 former LSU players, nine were chosen in the NFL Draft. All nine were selected in the third round or higher. One player, Delpit, is waiting to see in which round he will be taken in the upcoming 2020 draft. In total, 33 defensive players from LSU heard their names called to the podium during the nine most recent drafts. A handful more are expected to be picked later this year.