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.
Heisman Trophy Finalists Include Joe Burrow, Justin fields, Jalen Hurts, Chase Young
The finalists for the Heisman Trophy have been unveiled and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young are headed to New York this weekend for the 85th edition of the award for the most outstanding college football player.
The winner will be announced on Saturday night during a ceremony that kicks off at 8pm est on ESPN.
“In my opinion, he should win it,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “In my opinion, he’s going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he’s a team player. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards are not high on his list. That’s what makes him such a great team player.”
While Burrow may have the most momentum heading into the ceremony, and is the likely number 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Young is the first Ohio State defensive player to finish in the top four in Heisman voting, and Young is the first defensive player from the Big Ten to do so since Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the award all the back in 1997.
Young led the nation with 16.5 sacks and in tackles for loss per game with 1.9.
Additionally, Ohio State is the seventh school to have multiple players invited to the Heisman ceremony in the same year, but the first to have both an offensive player and a defensive player.
Rutgers Brings Back Greg Schiano with Eight-Year, $32 Million Deal
Rutgers is bringing back Greg Schiano as their head coach following a lengthy negotiation process that has led to an eight-year, $32 million deal, according to ESPN.
“Today we open the next great chapter for Rutgers Football,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said. “Coach Schiano is absolutely the best person to lead our program. He brings a quality of leadership and integrity that will make all of us proud in the years ahead. I couldn’t be more excited for our student-athletes and our fans.
“A lot of hard work lies ahead, but we will all keep chopping together with Coach to achieve success in the Big Ten. We all know what the goal is and we all must do our part. I can’t express enough appreciation to Greg and Christy Schiano, the first family of Rutgers Football. Welcome back!”
Schiano went 68-67 from 2001-2011 as Rutgers head coach.
“Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family,” Schiano said in a statement put out by the school. “I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done.”
Schiano left Rutgers in 2012 to become the head coach of the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, in a tenure that lasted just two years.
“I commend Rutgers Athletics Director Pat Hobbs and Coach Schiano for reaching an agreement following very complex negotiations to bring on this new, exciting chapter for Rutgers Athletics,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. “We are all thrilled to welcome Coach Schiano. He is the right coach at the right time to build our Big Ten football program into a long-running source of pride for Rutgers.”
Ole Miss Fires Matt Luke
Ole Miss is moving on from head coach Matt Luke, who was fired on Sunday following three seasons at the helm of the Rebels.
“After evaluating the overall trajectory of our football program, we did not see enough momentum on the field and determined a change is necessary in order for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level” Athletics director Keith Carter said in an official statement.
“While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program. We will always be grateful to Coach Luke for his leadership, particularly from a recruiting, academic and overall culture standpoint. At the same time, winning is important, and we know that we can compete for championships at Ole Miss.
“A search is underway to find a new head coach who can build a complete program that attracts top talent, develops them as young men and sustains a winning mentality. We will be looking for the leadership, energy and commitment to excellence necessary to compete in the Southeastern Conference and galvanize our passionate fan base.”
Luke compiled a 15-21 record during his tenure at Ole Miss.
According to the Clarion Ledger’s Nick Suss, the firing of Luke was not well-received by some of the players, with some storming out of the team meeting angry over the decision.
Many are speculating that the Egg Bowl was what set the firing in motion. However, it is worth noting that attendance was becoming an issue in the midst of a losing season, and with a new athletic director in the fold, change was likely coming sooner or later.
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