After a disappointing defensive campaign in 2016, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders cut ties with defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix. Head coach Rick Stockstill tapped the shoulder of former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as the replacement. Shafer has been around the block and certainly has a successful track record.
Defense is typically predicated on consistent pressure and getting the opposing offense under duress. To do so you need defensive players that wreck havoc and make the offense uncomfortable. Rick Stockstill essentially wants defensive ends that can pin their ears back and get after the quarterback and the ball carrier in general. Three-star defensive end, Trey Laing of Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida seems to fit this mold.
Laing is listed at 6-foot-4 and checks in at 230-pounds and is a recent recipient of an offer from Middle Tennessee..
Let’s take a gander at his tape from his Junior season at Leon.
FILM FOCUS: DE TREY LAING
VS CHILES HIGH SCHOOL (1 Minute):
On the initial play, you can pinpoint Laing at the defensive end spot, dawning the No. 55.
Laing is fierce coming off the edge and is hell-in-a-hand-basket for the offensive line. The quarterback tries to escape the pressure to no avail. Laing puts the lineman in the spin cycle, performing a nice little spin maneuver before corralling the quarterback for a sack.
On the very next play, Laing is on the left side of your screen. On this play he is not credited with a sack, but he does get a quarterback hurry. Laing gets in the backfield in the blink of an eye and the signal caller has to airmail the ball well over his receivers head.
As the clip continues, Laing continues to be hellacious off the edge, usually dipping his hips low enough to the control the edge and get after the carrier. Take a look at a play starting at the 41-second mark. Laing comes full head of steam at the quarterback, getting his mitts on the pass for a batted ball. The last play on this bit shows him double teamed, but still managing to pressure the quarterback - a must-have trait to be successful at the next level.
VS SUWANNEE HIGH SCHOOL (1:52):
The very first play here indicates that he is not facing offense linemen from the '85 Bears. On this play the offensive lineman does not even pick up his assignment and block Laing. This will not be the case at the next level.
In this clip there are times where he is just unabated to the quarterback or the halfback. Start at the 13-second mark. Again, the offensive tackle is oblivious to Laing. There is no denying his affect on the quarterbacks decision making.
Starting at the 18-second mark, Laing is picked up but still bull rushes his way into the backfield, making the quarterback check down for a measly gain.
You can observe, especially halfway through this clip, that Laing is very disciplined when it comes to keeping containment. There is a play where the quarterback seems to be running an option of sorts. Laing spreads out wide, minding his p’s and q’s, keeping contain on the quarterback.
This particular set of clips also introduces us to Laing's patented spin move. Starting at 1:03, you can see Laing deploy this maneuver before making the tackle.
VS LINCOLN HIGH (32 SECONDS):
From the outset of this clip, Laing shows he is not just a one trick pony. He is not just a pass rush specialist, but rather, a jack of all trades.
Here the offense is attempting a chip shot field goal. Laing bursts through the line of scrimmage like a man with his hair on fire, going right up the gut to block the kick. This is a momentum play that can turn the tide of a game, and just another reason why Laing is already in high demand.
Next up is a play where Laing again pressures the quarterback. On this play though, Laing makes the quarterback pay the price. He lays the lumber right after the QB chucks the ball.
Time after time, Laing is causing the thrower to lick his wounds after making an errant throw. Starting at 17-second mark, Laing sheds a block and tackles the running back-very impressively. You can see he may need to brush up on his form tackles, but he gets the job done. Again, when he gets his paws on you, you are likely going down.
VS FORT WALTON BEACH (33 SECONDS):
Not to beat a dead horse, but it's evident that linemen at the high school level can’t hang with Laing.
On the first play of this clip, the tackle gets away with an egregious hold. The very next play, Laing gets his revenge as he drives the offensive tackle directly back, almost to the point where he collides with his own quarterback. How Is a QB supposed to execute a play when his lineman is being shoved right into him? This is impressive, but unlikely to occur in this fashion at the next level. Laing will face guys that are bigger, faster and stronger, but the thing is, he will also get bigger faster and stronger.
There are times where he commands a double team, which frees up at least one of his teammates.
Trey Laing is a player that deserves his three-star rating.
He will probably need to pack on some weight to be a force at the next level, but I think he is more than capable of doing so and should flourish in a college strength and conditioning program.
Laing is a brute who is skilled at bull rushing (very reminiscent of former MT great Erik Walden), but it is worth noting that he won’t have his way as easily when he laces them up versus formidable opponents.
Laing has a lot of moves in his arsenal, though. Yes, he can bull rush you, but he can also pick you apart with his finesse moves. He has a great spin and swim move combination.
Good defensive linemen need multiple tricks in the bag and Laing seems to possess multiple go-to moves.