Baylor to hire LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as head coach

By Zac Byrd

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Baylor football has tabbed LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as its next head coach, according to a report from The Athletic's Bruce Feldman.

Aranda has quickly risen to be one of the top defensive minds in college football. He was the highest-paid assistant coach in college football a year ago at LSU with a salary of $2.5 million, higher than even Clemson’s Brent Venables. 

Over his tenure, Aranda has produced some of the top defenses in college football. His units at Utah State, Wisconsin and LSU all ranked top 15 nationally between 2012 and 2017. The group fell statistically to No. 31 in total defense – but that largely coincided with LSU blowing teams out. Aranda has served as coordinator under Gary Anderson, Paul Chryst, Les Miles, Ed Orgeron and Greg McMackin. 

Aranda helped lead LSU to the fourth national championship in program history on Monday. His game plan helped contain highly-touted Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence to just 234 yards and under 50 percent completion. Clemson averaged 43.9 points per game during the season. Against LSU, the Tigers mustered just 25 points.

While Aranda hasn’t served as a coordinator in the state of Texas, he has ties in the state. Aranda served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech from 1999 to 2001 and linebackers coach at Houston from 2002 to 2003. At LSU, he recruited the state of Texas extensively, finding players like K’Lavon Chaisson (North Shore), Grant Delpit (Houston) and Kary Vincent Jr. (Port Arthur Memorial). 

Aranda will replace Matt Rhule, who became the second coach in college football history to take his team from 11 losses to 11 wins. Rhule was hired by the Carolina Panthers with a massive deal. Hiring Aranda is doubling down on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears posted one of the best defenses in college football in Rhule's third season. 

Aranda would unquestionably focus on maintaining the defensive performance. However, he has served on teams that have run the air raid, power run and spread – it's unclear what direction he would go on the other side of the ball. 

Aranda was notably the roommate of Texas head coach Tom Herman while both were students at California Lutheran. He was also defensive coordinator at Utah State when Texas Tech coach Matt Wells was offensive coordinator at the school.

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