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Assigning confidence levels to gauge LSU's chances with each of its top recruits in the 2016 class

Gauging LSU's chances with each of the top recruits on their board.

TSD presents its first batch of confidence levels for the 2016 class.

LSU currently has 18 commits with the potential to take as many as 27 by National Signing Day. There are still several needs to fill and a lot of big names left on the board. That’s why we provided confidence levels for so many recruits this month. There are a lot of different ways this class can pan out, but we tried to pick out the ones most seriously considering LSU.

Our confidence levels are a number assigned 1-10 (10 being the highest), gauging our take on the likelihood each recruit ends up at LSU. These aren’t produced out of thin air either. They’re measured based on information coming from sources both on the LSU side and the players’ side.

We’ll provide the reasoning behind each number as well, so without much further ado, here are the latest confidence levels for LSU’s top targets in 2016.

CB Kristian Fulton – 9.0

This is the recruit we feel most confident about landing at LSU. He initially wanted to have his commitment made by the start of his season, but that’s come and gone. It’s now likely he’ll wait until an All-American game to make a nationally televised announcement. Regardless of when it comes, it would be a major surprise to see Fulton end up anywhere else. He’s made far more visits to LSU than any other school, and his relationship with the coaches is as tight as any recruit on LSU’s board. LSU should keep this one in Louisiana.

LB Michael Divinity – 8.5

Divinity just took his first official visit last weekend to Florida State, and his second will come this weekend to Texas A&M. He also has one scheduled to Oregon later this month, and plans to be at LSU for the Florida game in October. He’ll announce his commitment in December before enrolling early at the school he chooses. LSU’s a significant leader here, as he’s been their top linebacker target throughout this recruiting cycle. LSU’s turned the entire coaching staff onto his recruitment, and that’s paying off huge. It would be a surprise to see him leave the state.

RB Devin White – 8.0

White’s recruitment will go all the way to the end. He said this week he’ll make his commitment during a nationally televised announcement on National Signing Day. His top three are currently LSU, Alabama and Mississippi with Arkansas, Auburn and Florida State also in the mix. He’ll take all his official visits, but LSU has felt like the leader throughout his recruitment. They were the first school to offer him and have made him the only running back targeted in this class. These other programs have a chance, but LSU is the likely pick.

CB Trayvon Mullen – 7.5

Of all the out-of-state recruits, LSU feels most confident with Mullen. The Tigers have always done well to recruit South Florida, and Mullen has long been in their crosshairs. He’s released a lot of different top schools lists, but the two constants have been LSU and Florida State. We still believe LSU has a significant edge on the Seminoles, but he continues to drag his recruitment late into the cycle. FSU feels its closing the gap, but we expect LSU to pull this four-star out of Florida.

LB Jeffrey McCulloch – 4.0

There are several linebackers still on LSU’s board, but McCulloch is the one we feel best about among the out-of-state prospects. Keion Joyner, Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson will probably be in future confidence levels, but we’re not ready to assign them yet. McCulloch has made several trips to LSU already though, and was just on campus last week with family. Considering LSU’s need at linebacker, he’s very receptive to that. We still think Texas leads, but that gap is closing, especially if those struggles continue in Austin. Watch out for Texas A&M too, but LSU has some real momentum here.

© Greg Powers

DL Shavar Manuel – 6.0

There’s a long list of defensive linemen in play for LSU, and we’re starting with Manuel. LSU really emerged as a contender for him in the spring, and they’ve rode that momentum since. He lists LSU as one of his top three schools with Auburn and Florida, and he’ll take his official visit to Baton Rouge when they play the Gators in October. He’s tight with five-star LSU commit Saivion Smith, and that’s helped as well. It’s all about Ed Orgeron though, and he’s positioned the Tigers well to land Manuel. We’re pretty confident that this five-star lineman will end up at LSU.

DT Rashard Lawrence – 6.0

Lawrence has five schools atop his list, but we still see it as a battle between LSU-Alabama. We give the Tigers a slight advantage thanks to the efforts of Ed Orgeron, who’s made Lawrence one of his top targets since joining the staff. He and Bradley Dale Peveto have worked very hard to restore order in Monroe, and landing Lawrence would really get things going back in LSU’s favor. This one will likely go back-and-forth as he continues to visit each school, but we’re picking the home team to get him.

DL Rashan Gary – 5.0

We’re pegging LSU as a co-leader for Gary with Auburn. He’s still in the process of ironing out a top five and official visit plans. But these two schools will definitely be in that mix once he narrows it down. LSU surged over the summer, getting him on campus with a coach and teammates during camp. He loved it so much he came back less than two weeks later with his mother. He was equally high on his visits to Auburn, and the SEC figures to be his likely destination. LSU will have to keep fighting, but they’ve positioned themselves well with the nation’s No. 1 prospect.

DT Ross Blacklock – 5.0

We also think LSU tops the list for Blacklock, though they have company with Texas A&M. Those are the top two contenders for him, and it’s too close to call between the two. Blacklock’s taken several visits to both schools, and LSU loves him as a true nose tackle in this class. It’s not easy to steal a kid from Houston, but LSU’s had success in the past, and maybe Blacklock becomes another to take that trip east down I-10 to Baton Rouge.

DT Raekwon Davis – 3.5

Davis remains committed to Alabama, and we don’t usually include commits on these confidence levels. But Davis is still very open in the process, so we had to mention him. Most still expect Davis will eventually back off that Alabama pledge before it’s over, and LSU would be one of the schools to benefit the most from that. Mississippi State is still the favorite here should he leave Alabama, but this will be a hotly contested battle until the end. Coach Orgeron loved his game when he camped in July, and he’ll be charging hard for this four-star tackle.

DT Stephon Taylor – 3.5

Of the four Louisiana d-linemen to receive LSU offers, Taylor’s the most likely to leave the state. Auburn is his top choice at the moment. He grew up in Alabama and still has his father and other family members in that area. He’s said before that his mom in New Orleans would have an easier time traveling to Auburn than his dad to Baton Rouge. The gap’s not huge, but we give Auburn the edge to land Taylor when it’s all said and done.

DL Emmit Gooden – 3.5

Gooden has some serious interest in LSU. He’s taken multiple visits since the spring and was on campus last week for what should’ve been the season opener. He didn’t work out at camp over the summer though, so LSU wants to see some of his senior season before they make the big push for him. If they do, LSU will likely shoot up his board and our confidence will grow. Tennessee and Mississippi State are the two other schools heavily in contention, but Gooden is definitely one that could have a much higher confidence level this time next month.

SCOUT/Hunter Paniagua

WR Clyde Leflore – 5.5

LSU’s board at wide receiver is very hard to project, as evidenced by our relatively similar confidence levels for each of the four listed here. We’re going with Leflore as LSU’s best bet, but we’re not terribly confident about it. It’s mostly a battle between LSU and Texas A&M, with the Aggies being the first team to offer him. He has former teammates at both schools, but we’re giving LSU a slight edge for now. That’s definitely subject to change though.

WR Stephen Sullivan – 4.5

Sullivan made some big news last month when he decommitted from LSU after spending a long time on the Tigers’ commit list. He’s always been very high on TCU, and his decision to decommit made it clear just how present the Horned Frogs are on his mind. Sullivan lived in Dallas and still has family in the area. That’s why we’re giving TCU the lead for now, but LSU will keep battling for one of the nation’s best receivers.

WR Drake Davis – 4.0

LSU was a bit late to the party in offering Davis, not doing so until this past summer. They’ve had to make up for that, but they’ve done well to show Davis just how much they want him. They face a tough challenge though in beating Ole Miss, his current leader. Davis is now at the IMG Academy with Rebel commit Shea Patterson, and those two definitely want to continue their partnership. LSU can close the gap, but we’re expecting Davis to end up in Oxford.

WR Mykel Jones – 2.5

Alabama leads for Jones, with LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee battling to get in front. Having a former teammate in Tuscaloosa is a big draw for the Crimson Tide, and that’ll make them tough to beat. Jones was in Tiger Stadium this past weekend though, and he’s more seriously considering staying close to home. He hasn’t scheduled any official visits yet, and those likely won’t come until after the season. Those trips could ultimately decide things, but we still give Alabama the edge for now.

OT Willie Allen – 3.5

This one’s hard to project as Allen doesn’t let out much about his recruitment. LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn and Georgia are the top schools in contention, though there are some others in the mix. He is seriously considering leaving Louisiana, but LSU isn’t out of it. We still like the Tigers’ chances and feel they’re in at as much as any school on the list. Ole Miss has a good shot because of his relationship with Shea Patterson, but this one will go late into the cycle. If LSU does miss on Allen, look for OL coach Jeff Grimes to find another lineman late like he did in the 2015 class.

Deontay Anderson – 2.5

Anderson has been on LSU’s board a long time. He regularly named LSU his leader early in the process, but he’s been more open about things in recent months. His most recent top five included LSU with Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and UCLA. He plans to take official visits to all of those schools, most coming after the season. Ole Miss has had a lot of momentum lately, and Texas A&M is gaining steam as well. With LSU pretty loaded in the secondary, it’s looking more likely that Anderson ends up somewhere else.

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