TOP10 TIGERS OF 2019/20 (#6 KEEPING K'LAVON: HOW TRAGEDY & TEXAS COULDN'T HOLD THIS TIGER (Freeview)
Updated: Feb 15
We've taken you down a road of #10 Michael Divinity's trials and tribulations on the sidelines, his leadership to get back out on the field, lead a defense, and define everything there is about the 2019 LSU Tigers;
We've shown you the path #9 Patrick Queen took to geaux from unknown to probable NFL 1st Round pick & Defensive MVP of the National Championship Game,
We've rode the rocky waves of #8 Thaddeus Moss's step outside of his father's infinite shadow and into the spotlight as an elite all-around tight end...
We've shown you why #7 Grant Delpit was 2019 LSU's most wrongfully criticized Tiger....and now.....we reveal....
(DE/LB / Red Shirt Sophomore)
60 tackles (34 solo)
13.5 Tackles For Loss
-1 Forced fumble
-21 QB Hits
-33 QB Hurries
-9 Forced Incompletions
-57 Pocket Disruptions
-5 Stops on 3rd
-4 Missed Tackles
-27 Stop of 3 Yards or less
-5 holding penalties forced
BEST PERFORMANCE: Alabama & Oklahoma
As far as sophomores geaux, the absolute pandemonium and must-see histrionics of K'Lavon Chaisson coming into the 2018 season was at an all time high.
"We think K'Lavon will be a 12-15 sack guy for us," Orgeron predicted for the North Shore High product during the summer of 2018.
Linebacker Devin White admitted he believed the dynamo would "set the LSU single-season sack record" before his time at LSU was up....maybe even as a sophomore.
But that all flew out the window when the Houston stud's season was ruined in one split second during a dominant Week 1 outing vs Miami.
In the 4th quarter vs the #8 Hurricanes, Chaisson tore his ACL, horrifically ending his 2018 run just as it had begun, live on ABC for all to see.
Chaisson's next LSU appearance wouldn't be for 11 months and 28 more days...
There wasn't a single Tiger player, coach or fan who didn't fall down on one knee while Chaisson lay helpless on the turf of Cowboys Stadium...a field with its own nefarious history of causing debilitating injuries.
Everyone on the 2018 team knew their defense would be radically changed by the loss of the sophomore 5-star....in fact, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda had assembled so much of the defensive identity around Chaisson's various pass-rushing talents that he was forced to move safety Grant Delpit further to the line.
Thankfully, K'Lavon was granted a red shirt, a chance to restart his sophomore campaign over again in 2019; yet when the DE/LB hybrid underwent surgery, many expected the fiendish defensive end would need a year of recovery & getting his feet wet before returning to his peak, just in time for his junior year.
How would his explosion be affected?
Would he be able to produce the lower-leg leverage needed to fight off the active hands of right or left tackles'?
Though we were robbed of an entire season watching Chaisson, the devastating ACL tear had positives:
Orgeron stopped the suffocating physicality of his practices, coordinating alongside Strength & Conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt to scale down the violent Tiger on Tiger contact, practices which had become a carry-over hallmark of the Les Miles era.
While his horrific knee issues curtailed his sophomore 2018 campaign, Chaisson became empowered during his time away from the field.
Obsessed with his recovery, K'Lavon was coming into the facilities for treatment every morning 3x a day...7 days a week, to the extent Dr. Bankston's staff had to keep him out long enough so they could get a break themselves.
On November 8th 2018, a mere two months after his surgery and on the 4th anniversary of his father's passing, a video showing Chaisson flying through speed drills, as well as cutting and twisting, made the rounds on social media.
To the shock and awe of many, Chaisson stared down the abject horror of his injury and said "No...you cannot stop me..." taking Adrian Peterson's cue and saying "hell no" to the suggestions of him being out for more than a year.
After all, he'd lost more than football long before his arrival in Baton Rouge:
At the age of 14, K'Lavon's 33 year old father Kelvin, a former linebacker at Baylor (1999-2001) was shot and killed...a tragedy's trauma which shaped and informed the young man more than he may be aware of.
Not only was Chaisson's father a standout at Smiley High School in Houston, Kelvin Chaisson also earned three-time all-district player, posting a rampant senior season that included 106 tackles, three interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
Much like his son, Kelvin may have been a football prodigy, too:
Despite failing to appear in the first five games of his freshman season at Baylor, Kelvin Chaisson finished with 49 tackles and grabbed a career-high 11 tackles against Oklahoma State on Nov. 20, 1999, proving the apple never falls far from the tree.
"Yeah...he was pretty good," K'Lavon said of his father in his typically understated demeanor, gazing into the space beyond with a small grin.
Chaisson continued to pay tribute to his father, wearing Kelvin's Baylor gloves as a constantly recruited high schooler at North Shore in Texas...after every sack, every tackle, to this day the father taken too soon comes to his mind when he demonstrates the echoes of his own heritage on the football field...
"Sometimes you have to have things taken away to realize how much they mean to you," Chaisson said in 2019, "football was like that for me. I've traveled harder roads than football being taken away..."
At one point in Chaisson's intriguing trajectory, the pass rusher seemed to dismiss football altogether, skipping his sophomore year at North Shore to focus on basketball. When he learned there weren't too many options for a "6'4 power forward" as Chaisson dubbed himself, he went back to footba