On the night of Jan. 31, Houston-area defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson sat down in his room and plotted his future.
The clock was ticking.
National Signing Day was less than 24 hours away, and a press conference had already been scheduled for sun-up. Chaisson was all set to be the star of the festivities, and a slew of reporters and literally millions of fans around the country were eager to hear where he’d decided to play college football.
“It was stressful,” Chaisson said.
Everyone pretty much knew that he narrowed his options to two – Texas and LSU—the finalists out of more than 50 programs who’d offered him a scholarship. But no one on either side had much certainty about how the decision might go. So with pressure mounting, Chaisson said he asked himself which program he’d regret missing out on most if he chose the other.
By that logic, he found himself at LSU.
Tiger fans around the country went wild on National Signing Day when Chaisson, a dominant, 6-foot, 4-inch, 220-pound defensive end, committed, then signed with LSU – one of the top players in the Tigers class for 2017.
The future Tiger said he can’t wait to get to work with the team over the summer in hopes of playing snaps in the fall as a true freshman.
Chaisson is ranked as the No. 37 overall player in the country by 247 Sports. He’s listed as the No. 4 defensive end.
“I stayed in my room in the dark—all night just thinking about this,” Chaisson said. “I turned my phone off. I shut everything out. I just decided that LSU was the best place for me. I talked to God, and I got a great feeling about it. I’m happy. I’m proud. I’m thankful to be a Tiger.”
Chaisson was a terror to opposing offenses in high school. The four-star prospect burst onto the scene in the 2015 season as a junior, recording 84 tackles and 21 sacks for North Shore High School—numbers that were easily among the best in the country.
Chaisson followed up those stats with a dominant senior year, which sent countless colleges to his doorstep begging for his services in the future. But LSU was the first school to offer him a scholarship, which always held a special place in the prospect’s heart.
The big-time defensive end visited Baton Rouge on Jan. 13, and was wowed by the hospitality and home-like feel Baton Rouge provided.
“It was great,” Chaisson said. “Everything was amazing.”
Chaisson then returned home and had an in-home visit with Texas, which reportedly went well, causing nervousness among the Tigers fan base.
But LSU countered, visiting Chaisson at 5 a.m. the next morning—catching him before he boarded a plane to travel to see the University of Florida.
Among the red-eye traveling fleet were head coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Their persistence, Chaisson said, showed him the love that he needed to know he was in good hands with the Tigers.
“Texas had the lead for a lot of this. That’s just the truth,” Chaisson said. “But it was just something about Coach O. It was just something about Coach Aranda. I trust them. I trust they’ll put me out there to the best of my ability. My visit was great, and I just started to see myself in those colors more and more when I was going through it all in my mind.”
He may be ‘in those colors’ this fall, too.
Most expect Chaisson to on a short list of freshmen who are most likely to see time on the field in their first season.
Because of his lanky, thin frame, Chaisson isn’t the prototypical defensive end. He’s not overly big, and won’t succeed taking on offensive linemen head-on. But he’s quick as a cat and nimble, which will give him the opportunity to run past them and get to the quarterback—much like Arden Key has done for the past two seasons.
Chaisson said he admires Key and hopes to mimic his career after the Tigers All-American. Orgeron thinks Chaisson has what it takes, too.
At a National Signing Day press conference, the coach didn’t mince words when asked to share his thoughts on Chaisson.
“We feel like we got the best pass rusher in the country,” he said.
Many LSU fans agree, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this future Tiger.
Illustration by Gavin Michelli.