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Breaking down LSU's top linebacker recruits in the 2016 class

LSU has some elite linebackers still on its board in 2016.

LSU has hosted several of its top linebacker targets in the last few weeks, and many more will be back on campus before the end of the season.

That’s good news for LSU as it tries to address one of its biggest positions of need. The Tigers have a terrific chance to reload with top linebackers, and Kevin Steele has several options in his first full recruiting cycle with LSU.

Let’s take a look at all the linebackers on LSU’s board and break down their respective recruitments.

First, LSU does have two linebackers already committed — Erick Fowler and Rahssan Thornton. Both are solidly committed to the Tigers despite strong efforts by Texas to flip them. LSU expects both will remain firm until National Signing Day.

That would likely leave LSU with at least two spots left for linebackers, though they won’t turn away any of the talented players we’ll mention here if they wanted aboard.

The top in-state target has always been Michael Divinity, and he was at the Auburn game over the weekend. LSU has long felt it leads in his recruitment, and that matches what those close to him say as well. LSU’s a big favorite here, and he’s planning to take his official visit in October.

He’ll announce in either late November or early December before enrolling early, and it would be a big surprise if he doesn’t choose LSU. He’ll be in line to play significantly as a freshman, especially with an extra semester under his belt.

After Divinity, most of LSU’s attention has been spent out-of-state.

One of those top targets outside Louisiana was here this past weekend. That marked the first LSU visit for Dontavious Jackson, something the Tigers had been pushing for months. It went well enough that LSU expects to remain in contention moving forward.

Texas has long been considered the favorite, and they still are. He does plan to take official visits to Florida State, UCLA and Michigan. LSU hopes this weekend’s trip convinced Jackson to return on an official, and if he does, LSU will be a very legitimate contender.

Jackson’s close friend, Jeffrey McCulloch, is also a top LSU target. He’s made several visits to Baton Rouge in recent months, most recently for that canceled season opener against McNeese State.

McCulloch and Jackson have discussed attending the same school, but they aren’t a package deal. LSU feels more confident with McCulloch because he’s taken more visits, and his interest should positively impact LSU with Jackson as well.

LSU’s on the long list of schools being considered for an official visit from McCulloch, but they’re almost a lock to get one at this point. He’s probably LSU’s best bet for an out-of-state linebacker for now.

Keep an eye on IMG Academy prospect Rahshaun Smith. He’s planning to take an official visit to LSU for the Florida game with teammate Shavar Manuel, and LSU commit Saivion Smith, another IMG kid, is also expected to be in town that weekend. LSU’s been on the outside looking in with Smith, but they’re shooting up his board, and that official visit should go a long way.

LSU’s also still in the mix for a pair from Coach Steele’s old stomping grounds in Alabama — Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson. These are two five-star prospects LSU has been recruiting hard. They came to campus early in the summer, and that trip made the Tigers a legitimate contender.

Davis was at the Alabama game over the weekend, and the Crimson Tide are definitely the favorites for both him and Wilson. There’s an opening though, and he mentioned LSU as one school very likely to get an official visit from him.

Their recruitments will go until NSD, so LSU has plenty of time to make its push.

There’s also Keion Joyner, one of the nation’s top outside linebackers. With family in Louisiana, he’s taken multiple visits to LSU before, but he keeps his recruitment a big mystery. Nobody has a great feel for where he’ll end up, but Florida State is also one of the top contenders. Keep him in mind though, as he regularly mentioned LSU as his favorite early in his recruitment.

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