LSU Recruiting Spring Cleanup: Linebackers

Nearing the end of our Spring Cleanup series, we address where LSU stands in its recruitment of linebackers in 2016. Kevin Steele has a tall order in his first full cycle, but he has big targets on the board.

The spring evaluation period starts Wednesday, and that’s one of the big dates in each recruiting cycle. Coaches can hit the road for the better part of the next six weeks to check out their top targets.

The LSU Big Board will change at each position over the next couple months, as new prospects emerge, others fall off and the future of the Tigers’ recruiting class becomes clearer.

So now’s the time to take stock of what LSU has accomplished thus far in the Class of 2016 and which recruits are the ones to watch moving forward. Starting last week, we’ve been taking a position-by-position look at the Class of 2016 and where things stand.

We’ve almost reached the end of our series, and today we’ll focus on the linebackers, a major position of need in this class. Before we get into that, check out the previous parts of this countdown:

LSU failed to sign a linebacker in the 2015 class, leaving new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele with a tall order in his first season with the Tigers. Loading up at that position is absolutely necessary, as LSU could potentially lose its three projected starters from this year’s team.

LSU is once again hurt by a down year in Louisiana at linebacker. The Tigers have only offered one in-state LB in the last two classes, and there’s only one in 2016 that’s landed one at this point.

That would be Michael Divinity, the four-star prospect from New Orleans. He’s one of the must-get recruits in Louisiana for LSU in 2016. He’s been a top target since landing an offer more than a year ago, making multiple trips up to Baton Rouge.

Divinity’s expected to be back this weekend for the Spring Game. Frank Wilson has led his recruitment to this point, and has a tight relationship with Divinity and his family. Kevin Steele has built a good bond with him over the last few months, and Steele believes Divinity would fit perfectly in his defense. He can play traditional OLB, rush the passer as a JACK or even help out in pass coverage.

Texas A&M has been considered the biggest threat to LSU for his commitment. He’s also very high on Oregon, but most peg LSU as the team to beat at this point.

More in-state linebackers could and probably will emerge this spring as Coach Steele hits the road to evaluate some possible targets. But in the meantime, most of the attention has been spent out-of-state.

The big name there is five-star Keion Joyner, the No. 1 player nationally at his position. Though he lives in North Carolina, Joyner’s originally from Abbeville and still has family in the area. That’s an added advantage for the Tigers, who have consistently been named near the top of his list.

Joyner’s planning to attend the Spring Game next weekend, which will mark his second visit down to LSU. Florida State, UNC and Texas A&M have all been mentioned among his leaders. LSU can really help its chances against those other programs with a solid visit this week though.

LB Dontavious Jackson

Keep an eye on a pair of Texas LBs — Dontavious Jackson and Jeffrey McCulloch. Both are planning to attend the Spring Game this weekend. That would mark McCulloch’s second visit since February, and these two are close friends. While the in-state schools are big competition, LSU’s hoping it can steal two of the best from Texas.

Coach Steele also hopes to pull some talent from his old stomping grounds. The former Crimson Tide assistant has offered elite linebackers from the state of Alabama like Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson. Steele also has ties to Tennessee, which could help with players like Daniel Bituli and Tim Hart.

Some other linebackers to watch: Caleb Kelly from California recently named LSU in his Top 10. Jonathan Jones visited earlier this spring and spoke highly of the trip. Tre Lamar’s a four-star from Georgia that picked up an LSU offer last month.

So to address a major position of need, LSU’s casting a wide net across the country. Steele came to LSU with a strong reputation in recruiting, and he’ll have to prove it in 2016.

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