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A closer look at the top recruits being recruited by both LSU and Auburn

A closer look at the top recruits being recruited by both LSU and Auburn

LSU and Auburn battle on the gridiron this weekend, but they've been fighting on the recruiting trail for months.

The SEC rivals have a lot of the same recruits high on their board, with several prospects holding both teams among their top schools. The success of each program in some of these battles could determine where they ultimately fall in the team rankings come National Signing Day.

TSD's Hunter Paniagua and Jason Caldwell from Inside the Auburn Tigers collaborated to break down some of the top prospects being recruited by both schools. We provide a little background on the recruitment of each player by LSU and Auburn, then we try to gauge each schools chances at landing each one.

So without any further ado, here are the top five recruits being targeted by both LSU and Auburn. 

DL Rashan Gary

LSU: LSU soared up Gary's list after two visits over the summer that came within two weeks of each other. Ed Orgeron has done really well to impress both Gary and his mother. With LSU wanting to load up on defensive linemen in this class, Gary is one of the top targets as the nation's No. 1 recruit. He would play immediately at LSU, and that's part of the pitch. LSU expects to be one of the top schools until the end.

Chances — LSU has as good a chance as any school still involved in his recruitment. Those visits really did make the Tigers one of his top contenders, and LSU expects to get him back on campus for an official visit. That will probably have to wait until after the season, but LSU welcomes that as they'd love to get one of the final chances to impress him.

AUBURN: No question Gary is one of Auburn’s top targets and rightfully so. The No. 1 prospect in the country, Gary is at a position of need for the Tigers when Coach Gus Malzahn’s team looking for immediate help at tackle in the 2016 class. A visitor over the summer, Gary is one of several players Auburn is looking at to be impact players next season.

Chances — I think Auburn has a great shot at Gary because of the availability of early playing time and because of his feel for the campus and facilities after taking his visit. Gary has consistently had Auburn as one of his favorites and a visit this fall to Jordan-Hare Stadium can’t hurt things.

DL Shavar Manuel

LSU: LSU is one of the top three schools in Manuel's recruitment, and they're scheduled to get an official visit from on Oct. 17 for the game against Florida. LSU really became a contender when he took a visit with teammate and LSU commit Saivion Smith. That shot LSU up his list, leading some to believe they're actually his leader. LSU hopes that official visit next month further solidifies their standing, and as a five-star defensive linemen, he's another top target for LSU in this class.

Chances — His relationship with Smith makes LSU very confident in its chances. We'll have an even better idea of where LSU stands after his official visit, but LSU is in very good shape with Manuel, possibly even leading at this point.

AUBURN: Much like Gary, Manuel is another player at a position of need for Auburn in this year’s class. Wanting to sign as many as eight defensive linemen in the 2016 group the Tigers have a need for a true pass rusher and that’s where Manuel fits in. Along with Gary he’s a dominating figure at the point of attack that is able to get to the quarterback no matter where he’s lined up.

Chances — This one is anybody’s guess at the moment, but if Auburn continues to make a strong push for his IMG Academy teammate Rahshaun Smith things could get very interesting.

OT Willie Allen

LSU: The offensive line isn't LSU's biggest need in 2016 after a loaded class in 2015, but Allen is Louisiana's best, and LSU doesn't want him leaving the state. He's been a top target throughout his recruitment with LSU being one of the first schools to offer him. He's made several visits but still takes a very open approach to the process. He's interested in a lot of schools, and LSU has a lot of competition for his commitment.

Chances — LSU has a good chance to keep Allen close to home, but it'd be hard to call them the favorite. Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama and Georgia are all schools he's considering. It's really anyone's guess at this point.

AUBURN: As much as Auburn’s need for defensive linemen is a must in this year’s class the same is true at offensive tackle. Signing just one true tackle in the last two years means Auburn is focusing on bringing in at least two in 2016. One of the top targets is big Willie Allen from powerhouse John Curtis Christian. A player that made multiple visits to Auburn in the summer and has a strong relationship with Malzahn and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes, Allen definitely is someone to keep an eye on this  year for the Tigers.

Chances — Auburn has a great shot here, but in the end it’s always tough to get a top prospect out of Louisiana when LSU is in the picture. The opportunity for early playing time is something that could be in Auburn’s favor if Shon Coleman or Avery Young or both declare for the NFL after this year.

WR Stephen Sullivan

LSU: Sullivan was the longest committed recruit to LSU until he dropped that about one month ago. LSU was the first school to offer him way back in his sophomore year, and he developed a really solid relationship with Cam Cameron over that time. But Sullivan continued to field interest from other schools and wanted to explore all options. LSU's still heavily involved and expects to have him on campus this weekend for the Auburn game.

Chances — LSU's in a serious fight to get Sullivan back in the class. TCU is the main threat as Sullivan once lived in the Dallas-area and still has family there. He has an official visit planned to Florida State and there are other schools coming after him as well. LSU will really have to work to land Sullivan again by NSD.

AUBURN: A visitor to Auburn last season, Sullivan is a big wide receiver and that’s a need area for the Tigers in this class with Duke Williams, Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray all seniors this fall. Auburn is looking to add several physical receivers and Sullivan definitely fits the bill there.

Chances — A former LSU commitment and in-state product, Les Miles’ Tigers may still be the team to beat but TCU is definitely in the picture. If Auburn can get an official visit it would greatly help the odds of signing him this year.

DL Stephon Taylor

LSU: Taylor was one of the first 2016 defensive tackles targeted by LSU and Ed Orgeron. He's teammates with LSU commit Clifford Chattman, and those two have considered continuing their playing careers together. Taylor didn't move to New Orleans until middle school, and his father still lives in Alabama, about 30 minutes from Auburn. LSU's one of several schools still in the mix for Taylor as he hasn't really narrowed down his recruitment.

Chances — LSU and Auburn figure to be the top two schools in his recruitment, but Taylor doesn't speak publicly much about his recruitment, so it's hard to gauge. The fall should give a better indication based on what visits he makes. 

AUBURN: The theme of defensive linemen continues with Taylor, a four-star product out of New Orleans. Normally that would be a tough player to get to come to Auburn and it still may be the case with Taylor, but growing up in Valley, Ala. makes this one a real possibility for Malzahn’s program. ‘

Chances — Auburn has a strong chance with Taylor, but it’s going to mean getting him to visit sometime this fall to be closer to home for a weekend. If he takes his official visit during the season to see the atmosphere in Jordan-Hare Stadium it could be huge for Auburn’s chances.

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