Five-star in no rush

When one is an early five-star, with offers from many of the national football powers before the summer of a junior season, the recruiting process can sometimes end as soon as it seemingly begins in today’s era. But it’s not the case, despite the same circumstances for 2016 five-star Keion Joyner. The No. 2 rising-junior in America will be thorough throughout the next two years.

Keion Joyner has had his name in the national spotlight for some time, helping guide Havelock (N.C.) High to consecutive Class 3A state championships and becoming one of America’s most coveted recruits by the time his sophomore season ended in the fall.

Even with the accelerated pace most prospects would dive into with national champion programs on his trail for a commitment, this five-star linebacker projection will take things slow and focus on Havelock for the time being.

“It was a great experience,” he said of his first two years of high school. "Knowing that I was highly ranked and my talent was going up against some of the best competition, head to head up against each other. All of us strive to get better, whether it’s football or education, we’re always trying to get better.”

Currently tabbed as the No. 2 prospect in the country for the 2016 class, Joyner has become accustomed to hearing from powerhouses and new schools wanting to get in the mix. One in the SEC will host him before August, and it will be his initial college campus visit of the summer.

“I’m supposed to be going to Florida soon, I have no clue if I’ll go anywhere else this summer,” he said. “I used to watch them when Tim Tebow was there, but I look for everyone being together, talking and having a good relationship with coaches and players.”

Aside from Will Muschamp’s program, one of many in the SEC and elsewhere that has already offered, Joyner continues to place his native LSU Tigers atop any “list” he is asked about despite taking the process slowly.

“I love LSU, it was what I was raised on and what I’ve been around most of my life,” Joyner said. “But I’m not a lock. Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina and Ohio State are in a group after LSU.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder touched on each of the aforementioned schools:

AU: “When I went down there, for a great game between Alabama and Auburn, it was something to see with the process and the game itself. Those coaches love the way I attack and get to the football.”

UA: “I haven’t been there yet, but I’m hoping to do so soon. The number one thing about Alabama is sending people to the league. I want to visit, seeing the workout plans and everything great that they do. They talk to me about school, my major and what I can do for that team.”

USC: “Seeing some of our prior players go there, having been to a game and seeing that crowd, it’s just the environment.”

OSU: “Seeing them on TV keeps them in here, it’s a great program. I haven’t been, but seeing their linebackers and that fun type of defense…”

An outside linebacker projection by Scout, Joyner added that most schools are currently looking at him primarily as a pass-rusher. With the position at a premium, he’ll eventually see what each school on his list has to offer in person. But if he doesn’t make it to any within the next few weeks, he’s not likely to see many during the fall as he plans on re-focusing on his Havelock teammates.

“I just want to wait out the process and see things from a distant perspective,” he said. “Then, later on, going in and checking everything out.”

As for Les Miles’ program sitting at the top ahead of the other group, Joyner did offer a way for the others to close the gap over the next two seasons.

“Family,” Joyner said. “Everybody coming together and having a great program, and education too.”

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