Northern Star: Brent Laing
For this week's segment, we feature a UMD offensive lineman who was recently named to the 2022 Senior Bowl Watch List.
DULUTH, Minn. – UMD offensive lineman Brent Laing is the first to credit his teammates for his work ethic.
“We have a great group of guys on the defense as well as fellow linemen and those defensive linemen push me ever day and honestly just make me a better player,” Laing said.
UMD played its first game in nearly two years on Thursday, but Laing said he made the most of his long offseason.
“We spent all of last summer working out in our garage and so it’s been a huge relief almost just getting back to football,” Laing said.
“I thought guys could either go one way or the other: embrace it and get the most out of it or kind of take a step backwards and Brent was certainly a guy who embraced it and knew he had this opportunity ahead of him and really took it to the next level,” UMD alum and offensive line coach Garth Heikkinen added.
Because of that, he now has a unique opportunity as he’s one of a handful Division II players to be named to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List. For many players, this serves as the first step of the NFL Draft process and mostly consists of players on the Division I level. The 2022 Senior Bowl is set for Feb. 5 in Mobile, Alabama.
“There’s a couple different all-star games at the end of the season for all levels of college football. The senior bowl is predominantly major DI, Power Five players so for Brent to just make the watch list and be on their radar heading into the season, it’s a huge honor,” Heikkinen said.
“A couple months ago, I had Jim Nagy tweet out at me and that was super surprising. I’ve been working really hard in this offseason so it’s a huge honor to be put on that list and we’ll see what happens here in the future,” Laing added.
While the recognition is special for Laing, he’s now just continuing the tradition of great offensive linemen at UMD, which includes learning from one of the best to ever do it in his offensive line coach Garth Heikkinen, an All-American and member of the D2Football.com’s All-Decade Team.
“Me and coach Heikkinen have a really good relationship. He knows his stuff so it’s really awesome to be able to learn from him and have him push me and tell me what I’m doing wrong and right and it’s just awesome to know that he’s there for me and has my back,” Laing said.
Now Laing has this final chance at UMD to make one last mark and then see what his future holds.
“He’s a really athletic football player, he does all of the things we ask him that you need to do to be successful in our offense at the position. and he also has the work ethic to match it so he hasn’t taken anything for granted. From the bottom of my heart, Brent’s as talented of an offensive lineman as we’ve had come through here at Duluth and I’m excited to see where he takes this senior year,” Heikkinen added.