February 24, 2008

Chaisson keeping his options open

Over the last few years Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman High School has developed a reputation nationally for producing elite prospects. Just in the last two years Arizona State has signed two players from the powerhouse program.

The Sun Devils recruited offensive lineman Po'u Palelei in 2007 and defensive back Josh Jordan in the class of 2008. ASU is no doubt hoping to continue that streak in 2009 with strong-side defensive end Justin Chaisson.

Chaisson, who became a household name while impressing at several summer camps including Florida, Oklahoma and USC in the past two years, is rated as the 30th best overall prospect on the Rivals.com top 100 juniors list. The only defensive ends rated higher than Chaisson are local standout Devon Kennard from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista and Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park recruit Craig Drummond.

The 6-foot-5, 270 pound defensive end is coming off an impressive junior season in which he totaled 80 tackles and 23 sacks while helping to lead Bishop Gorman to a 14-0 record and its first state title in 24 years.

For his efforts Chaisson received numerous awards including being named to the Rivals.com Junior All-American Second Team, First Team All-State by the Las Vegas Review Journal as well as by NevadaPrepReport.com which also named him their Co-Defensive MVP, a distinction that he shared with 2008 ASU class member Lawrence Guy.

For the second year in a row Chaisson was invited to attend the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio. At the event he was impressive enough to be named to the All-Combine Defensive team. He has already accepted an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next year. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every, who was on hand at the combine, wrote that Chaisson is a tough battler who projects at strong-side defensive end or possibly defensive tackle.

Chaisson and his teammates are currently focused on trying to repeat as state champions.

"We are looking real good," Chaisson said. "We are training real hard right now. We are getting a good off-season in and hopefully we will be ready.

"Personally I just want to get bigger, stronger and faster. I have been working on getting quicker with my hands and feet. I also want to break my single season sack record (23 sacks) next year."

Chaisson is still unsure which junior day and summer camps he will be attending but does intend to use those opportunities to learn more about the schools that are recruiting him.

"I might on hit a few of the camps, not as much to participate in them but more to check out the campuses and stuff," he said.

Nevada's top prospect reports offers from Oklahoma, ASU, Oregon, LSU, Cal, UCLA, Florida and Nebraska as well as interest from USC and Georgia. He has taken a proactive approach to his recruitment thus far.

"I try to talk to all of the coaches every couple of weeks to just catch up and stay in touch with them," Chaisson said.

Despite growing up a fan of USC and having an uncle that played baseball for Oklahoma, Chaisson is keeping his options open.

"Right now everyone is wide open," he said. "I am going to let all of the recruiting take place. I am going to make the right choice, I am going to talk to my family and some of the coaches that are close to me and take my time and make the right decision."

He also has a good idea of what he is looking for in his college choice.

"I am looking to get along with the coaches," Chaisson said. "I am going to be there for four years. I want to like the atmosphere that I am going to be at for four years. That is a big thing for me. Academic are also big to me and my family."

ASU is a school that Chaisson will continue to consider.

"I have heard good things," he said of the Sun Devils. "Josh (Jordan) is going there this year. Po'u (Palelei) was going to go there last year. I always hear great stuff about it up there. It's close to home; I really like it up there."

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