Xavier Laing didn’t start playing football until he was 10 years old. He didn’t know anything about the sport. He just wanted to play because all of his friends played it.
“…I just came to [the states] and I just wanted to play, I didn’t like being in the house all day. I came here, I made friends and all my friends played football so then I started going to practices and stuff and that’s how it all started. That’s how I started playing football,” Laing said.
Laing is a Miramar, Florida native who is originally from Portmore, Jamaica. Coming to the states and living here full time wasn’t a huge transition for him because he would spend summers and other holidays in Miramar.
“It was a good adjustment because I used to always come on holidays and in the summer because my mom was living here. My mom, my brother and most of my family was living over here. I used to come in the summer and Christmas time,” he said. “Living here, all I had to adjust to was going to school, meeting new people, it’s like how people say when you go to college and you’re starting a whole new life. I just came here, adjusted to it, met new people and it wasn’t that hard for me at all.”
He got his want to always work hard from his father and grandmother and he believes that if you don’t work hard it’s going to show on the field.
“…If they didn’t work hard I wouldn’t be in a position to live well or get [myself] anything to eat. So they showed me that working hard is the way you’re going to make things easier. So, I feel like, if I can work hard for the first 30 years of my life, for the next 70 years of my life, I’m just chilling so why not do it,” Laing said.
Xavier Laing is not rated by any of the major recruiting services as an outside linebacker but he has received five scholarship offers from Appalachian State, Central Connecticut State, UNC Charlotte, Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois. He is hoping more come his way. He had eight sacks in 2015 for the Miramar Patriots.
“Right now I think I need to work on being a better teammate. I’m trying to get better, I’m trying to get faster, I’m trying to get stronger and have a better motor because I’m trying to be all over the field. I’m trying to be all over the field this year. I’m trying to make my senior year the year [that says] I left everything out on the field and everybody knows that Xavier was always there on that play every time the offense did this and that.”
He has high interest in Appalachian State who has shown a lot of interest in him. Louisville is his dream school because he likes watching their football games and seeing how exciting they can be.
Xavier Laing feels more comfortable stopping the run and rushing the passer.
“…That’s what I like to do. I just like playing in the tranches, I don’t know why. Not everybody likes to play in the trenches, they don’t like to be touched and all that. I like going to get the quarterback, I like stopping the run, all of my guys, all of us on the front seven, I make sure we all are on the same page and we’re not giving up any long yardage runs and stuff like that.”
Now, as more of an outside linebacker this year, he’s working on being better in coverage. Playing both defensive end and linebacker, he believes he’s a very versatile player and he’s blessed to be in the position he is in.
“…When you play different teams and offenses, they have to know that I’m on the field. They have to check you because they have to know where you’re at on the field because you can play more than one position. They have to know where you’re coming from.”
Another thing he wants to be better at is being a better teammate. He tells them what they do wrong and how to fix it and they do the same for him. Even if his coach calls a play that may not work for what he’s seeing out there on the field, he can adjust the play call based on what he has seen watching film during the week.
“When the offense comes out, I know the formation they’re going to come out in and what plays they run in that formation. If they like to run plays to the short side of the field, to the wide side, if they like to run plays towards this tackle or this guard. I think the best part is just my understanding. I think the best thing ever in football is film,” he said. “Film makes the game way easier because once you’re on the field and you see formations they come out in, you know ‘oh I’ve seen this on film, I know what they’re going to run.’ You know what the different plays they could run out of there so it’s not really hard for you.”
Xavier Laing is ready to lead the defense as a senior this year. He’s not a fiery, loud, kind of guy. He leads by example. If he’s making plays, his teammates will follow suit.