HOUSTON — For K'Lavon Chaisson, keeping a low profile when it involves recruiting is paramount. Rarely will the 4-star defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid from the Houston area tip his hat about his future college plans.
So imagine the reaction when the North Shore High School product pulled out Baylor gloves and proudly wore a Baylor towel for random photo opportunities during The Opening regional in Houston earlier this month. The unassuming may think Chaisson's recruiting process was an open-and-shut case.
The unassuming may not know his back story.
Chaisson's father is Kelvin Chaisson, a former linebacker who played at Baylor from 1999 to 2001. He was shot and killed in November 2014. He was only 33.
"It's all because of my father," K'Lavon said as he put on the Baylor gear to prepare for The Opening competition. "He went to Baylor, and he was a big fan of where he went. I was, too, when I was little. I just decided to do this for him and wear all the Baylor things he had."
Chaisson's tribute to his father didn't go unnoticed—even though he'd rather it be seen as routine and not as a big deal. But when you're the nation's No. 7 weak-side defensive end and No. 115 player overall in the 2017 class, it's understood why Baylor fans are hoping the gloves and towel are tools of foreshadowing.
Chaisson has 20 reported offers, and he's an intriguing option as a hybrid defender for myriad programs.
Just don't expect him to say anything. At least not yet.
"I don't really get too deep into that," he said of his recruiting process. "I hardly ever do."
Ask Todd Huber, director of football for Student Sports, which puts on The Opening, and he'll tell you why Chaisson is such a wanted athlete. At 6'4" and 211 pounds, Chaisson is a solid pass-rusher and a ball hawk on running plays.
"No matter who you talk to and where they saw North Shore, if they saw them play in person or on tape, the first thing they mention is K'Lavon," Huber said. "He's a guy who just flashes. He's got big-time tape and is a productive player against both the run and pass.
"He's not a kid who talks a lot, but his tape does enough talking for him."
Jon Kay has been coaching at North Shore for 20 years and now is in his second year as head coach of the program. Chaisson's low-profile demeanor is nothing new to Kay.
All he wants to do is play football.
"It's fair to say he's not a rah-rah guy," Kay said, "but just because he doesn't have a lot to say doesn't mean he doesn't bring an immense amount of intensity to the game. He's an internally focused person, and when he's ready to go out and compete, he has a different look in his eye."
Chaisson was a part of North Shore's team that won the Texas Class 6A state championship in December.
It's a nice achievement on a football resume that is still considered somewhat fledgling. Kay said Chaisson didn't play football his sophomore year, opting to play basketball instead. Chaisson's ability to adapt to football at the varsity level came naturally.
Chaisson's father was a preps standout at Smiley High School in Houston. He was a three-time all-district player and two-year starter, and he had a senior season that included 106 tackles, three interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
As a freshman at Baylor, Kelvin Chaisson finished with 49 tackles, despite not playing the first five games. He had a career-high 11 tackles against Oklahoma State on Nov. 20, 1999.
"Yeah...he was pretty good," K'Lavon said of his father.
K'Lavon said he's motivated by what his father brought to the table on the field. As a hybrid defender, K'Lavon competed with the defensive ends at The Opening regional, but he said he plans on playing outside linebacker at the college level.
In a 3-4 setting, playing outside linebacker could be the perfect opportunity for him to show his potential and be a major defensive threat.
"We're an even-front team, so he plays a lot of D-end for us, but we're able to drop him into coverage," Kay said. "We really took advantage of that in our blitz packages. The dynamic he brings definitely transfers well."
As for the next level of football, Chaisson said he's keeping all schools available as an option. Early predictions favor Baylor, Texas A&M and LSU, but Chaisson debunked any chatter about having favorites.
He said a decision could come before the start of his senior season, but he could also hold out until national signing day. For him, it's all about finding the right fit and taking advantage of the opportunity when given.
"Whenever I feel like I'm ready, I'm going to do it," he said of committing. "I'm really looking for a good 3-4 scheme where I can play outside linebacker and learn a lot. Coaching stability has got to be a major key, too. You can't recruit me and say one thing, but when I get there, you leave to a different school. That's something I'm really looking at."
Wherever Chaisson ends up, Huber believes that school will get a gem in the making. Chaisson is an athlete who plays with a high motor and is ready to shine against next-level competition.
If anything, it's what his father would want.
"I know my dad would be happy," Chaisson said. "He always told me to go hard every play. He motivates me."
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles