BISMARCK, N.D. (BVM) — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and everyone went to their homes as part of quarantine, it gave people a lot of free time. For college coaches in particular, this meant catching up in the film room.
“There were a lot of coaches that had a lot of extra time this spring to watch film,” Bismarck Century High School head football coach Ron Wingenbach said.
This boded well for Andrew Leingang, who was coming off a stellar 2019 season with the Patriots, after avenging a state championship loss in 2018.
“He performed very well,” Wingenbach said.
Leingang was already on the radar of DI programs prior to the season after some camps he attended at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota during the 2019 summer. Now with a great junior season under his belt, coaches were ready to take a deep look into Leingang.
“You combine the smarts with the physical play upfront and the fact that he could probably get to 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 and maybe 310 to 315 and handle it pretty well. Those are some pretty figures to work with as far as an o-line coach is concerned,” Wingenbach said.
With all that extra film time, coaches liked what they saw in Leingang and the offers began to come in from Power 5 schools.
“It’s a pretty humbling experience itself,” Leingang said. “For me, I’ve gotten into this position because of my coaches, family, friends and all these people who have helped me out through this process.”
That process began long ago before Leingang could even play tackle football.
“I started out just watching football and I always just enjoyed the physical sense of the game,” Leingang said. “I knew from the start that out of all the sports that football was my favorite sport.”
Always big for his age, Leingang would regularly play offensive and defensive line. At ages when kids usually want to play a more glamorous position, Leingeng was more than content to be on the line.
“For me I just kind of looked forward to it,” Leingang said. “I love pulling. I love pancaking people. I love making big plays on defense.”
That attitude and passion for the game has always been a part of Leingang’s play, and his drive to work hard was noticeable even before he reached high school.
“I think as early as some of the middle school games we could see that number one he was going to be a very large man and number two he certainly had the work ethic to become the best he could possibly be,” Wingenbach said.
That work ethic has given him an opportunity to accomplish a personal dream of playing college football. Now he just has to decide where he wants to go. But that’s even harder this year.
“It’s tough without being able to go visit places in person,” Leingang said. “A lot of these coaches and recruiters have done an awesome job of giving me information, tours, phone calls and giving me the tools to feel more comfortable in making my decision.”
It’s why Leingang is still set on making a decision this summer, prior to his senior year. He said he doesn’t want any distractions heading into his last year of high school football.
“I just want to be able to give my team, my coaches and the school itself everything I have senior year,” Leingang said.
Anyone who knows Leingang wouldn’t be surprised by this.
“He has always been one of the hardest workers on the field,” said Cade Feeney, a graduate of Bismarck Century and a former teammate of Leingang. “He’s assignment sharp and overall a great teammate. He pushes everyone to be their best every single play. He doesn’t take plays off.”
With the Patriots looking to repeat as state champs, Leingang will play a big part in that run as the leader on the offensive line. He will also cap off an incredible career with a program that has a reputation for quality football.
“We’ve had some great football players go through Century over the years and he certainly would have to rank right up there at the top,” Wingenbach said. “I think as far as overall recruitment, he’d probably be the top recruit we’ve ever had in terms of the national scene.”