Ed Orgeron has worked hard to improve LSU's 2017 recruiting class since having the interim tag removed from his coaching title in December, but his biggest prize didn’t come until National Signing Day. Five-star defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson announced Wednesday that he will sign with the Tigers.
Chaisson’s decision will help ease the sting of LSU's whiff on a highly touted prospect in the same position group on Tuesday. That's when Phidarian Mathis, a four-star tackle out of Neville (La.) High, picked SEC West rival Alabama over the Tigers. LSU rebounded from its loss of a coveted in-state DL by swiping another one from a different state.
Chaisson is an explosive edge rusher renowned for his high motor. Scout.com rates the North Shore Senior (Texas) High product the No. 5 defensive end and No. 33 player overall prospect in the 2017 class. He shined among some of the nation’s best players at the Under Armour All-America Game last month, tying a record with three sacks and recording six tackles. While Chaisson drew more than 20 reported scholarship offers, he announced Monday that he would choose one of Texas, LSU or Florida.
In the end Chaisson elected to leave the Lone Star State, a move in keeping with the outflow of top-end talent from Texas in this cycle. Only two of the top 11 prospects (five-star linebacker Anthony Hines to Texas A&M and four-star center Jack Anderson to Texas Tech) in the state in this recruiting cycle, according to Scout.com, chose programs located within its borders. Chaisson’s choice is a clear manifestation of LSU's recruiting prowess in Texas. The Tigers have raided the state for elite players in recent years, including five in this cycle: Chaisson, Memorial High four-star cornerback Kary Vincent Jr., Crosby High four-star wide receiver Mannie Netherly, Cy-Fair High four-star offensive guard Austin Deculus and De Soto High four-star offensive guard Edward Ingram.
And for Texas, Chaisson's choice is a painful reminder of the difficulty the Longhorns could have in restoring the program's status as the top destination for in-state talent. Herman has extensive ties in Texas, and there's no doubt the Longhorns' pitch will carry more resonance if the program shows progress on the field. But with programs like LSU and Alabama making major inroads in the territory Texas used to dominate, the Longhorns won't be able to rely on their brand alone. The state's best high school players have so many appealing alternatives now.
Chaisson becomes the second highest rated prospect in LSU's class, behind only Oakland (Tenn.) High five-star safety Jacoby Stevens, and its third defensive end, along with Spanish Fort (Ala.) High three-star Justin Thomas and Catholic (La.) three-star Aaron Moffitt. Chaisson projects as a better player at the next level. He’ll provide defensive coordinator Dave Aranda with a talented pass rusher who can line up at multiple positions.
Chaisson's decision also continues a run of good news on signing day for the Tigers. Earlier on Wednesday they landed Lanier (Ga.) High four-star linebacker Tyler Taylor and Plaquemine Senior (La.) four-star safety Todd Harris.
Here is Scout.com’s complete scouting report on Chaisson:
Chaisson has what we like to describe as a very high motor and is a player who can get after the quarterback early and and then he will do it often. We like that he stepped up on the big stage to help his team win a state title, earning defensive MVP honors in the contest and making a play inside the 10-yard line to secure the win. Big players make big plays on the big stages. He has great speed rush abilities and instincts, but is also strong enough to hold his ground and play tough against the run. A well-rounded prospect who has room to grow and mature into a top-tier physical specimen.