Maryland secured the highest-rated commitment in its 2017 class thus far when four-star defensive tackle Cam Spence (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.), a Bowie, Md., native, gave head coach D.J. Durkin his word April 8. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder discussed why he chose the hometown school, why he elected to end his recruitment earlier than expected, the importance of igniting DMV-to-UMD, who he'll be recruiting to College Park, Md., and more.
Hear what Spence had to say in the interview above:
On Early Commitment
You know, I was just thinking and talking with my parents, and Maryland just felt right. It felt like home. My uncle went there, and I just had it in me. I knew from Day One that I was going to go there.
On Benefit Of Committing Early, Spurring DMV-to-UMD
Yeah, that was kind of the whole thing, just trying to put an emphasis on, if we take all of our talent [DMV talent] from the D.C., Virginia, Maryland area, if we stay home and do this thing together, we can win championships. It doesn't work without the people from your backyard. So that was the whole thing. Somebody had to step out front and make a statement.
On Speaking to Kasim Hill and Ayinde Eley Beforehand
I talked to Kasim, and I know he kind of mentioned Syracuse a little bit and Ayinde, he mentioned Ohio State. But I told them to look into [Maryland]. I'll have to see what they do like everybody else (laughs).
On What He Told Durkin When He Committed
I was just telling him I was happy, excited and ready to get this thing rolling. I said I'm ready to be apart of the team. [Durkin] was excited. He said he wanted to jump through the phone and give me a hug.
I called Coach [Mike] London as well, and he was excited and happy for me and happy for my decision. So I feel great, you know? This is a real big day for me.
On London and Spence's Relationship With Him
He's like a second dad to me. Just talking with him, he genuinely cares about you as a person and gets to know you. Just creating that relationship, it's personal. He teaches life stories and life decisions. Like, the first time I met him we didn't even talk about football. For like a good hour we talked about life in general, the right and the wrong, and how do I want to live my life? Do I want to live a life of success and significance? It's just things like that that me and my family liked. My family has me grounded in those [values], so it really stood out.
On Visiting Maryland Four Times Over Spring Break
I felt like home up there, really. I felt like I just wanted to chill out, hang out with players and guys I know from earlier in my high school days. It just felt right, you know? It really made me proud to say Maryland is my school, my hometown, and I can rep where I'm from.
Jesse Aniebonam, Yannick Ngakoue, Damian Prince and a couple alumni, I know all those guys up there.
On The Future Of Maryland Under Durkin
With Coach Durkin, I really see Maryland doing big things, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Talking to players like Adam McLean and those guys, they were like, 'We haven't seen this before.' [Durkin is] real energetic, he pushes them, they're in the weight room, they're grinding, they're not playing around. I can really see he's got a real passion for this thing. And [Durkin] being so young and energetic, that brings a lot of energy too. Because if you see a coach get fired up, you get fired up too.
On Spence Being Forecast To Maryland Before Durkin Even Took Over
It wasn't that I was homesick or anything like that. I have a cousin whose father played at Maryland [Larry Stewart] and got drafter by the Baltimore Colts. [Stewart] passed away about 14 years ago, but I can feel his spirit in me. I always talk to him, pray to God, and speak to him. I feel like he's with me, and I want to carry that legacy on. I'm real big on family. Real big. My family, we all love each other, we're always together, we do everything together and we all live within a 15 mile radius of each other. So we're real close, and separating from them is something I wasn't going to do.
On His Game
I describe my game is, I play with a lot of passion and aggression. I feel like I can bring that force and that anchor in the middle for the defense. As soon as we get more and more recruits, we can build around the defense and make it even stronger.
On Who He's Recruiting To Maryland
I'm going hard after Kasim, Chase [Young], Anthony McFarland, Josh Kaindoh, Jordan Anthony. I'm going after all those guys.
On If DMV-to-UMD Comes Together
Maryland's future, the sky is the limit. Everything is going to go up from here.
On Message To Fans
Maryland fans, watch out, Cam Spence is coming.