WASHINGTON, D.C. -- St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) four-star defensive tackle Cam Spence committed to Maryland April 8. Terrapin Times was on hand at the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder’s game Sept. 3 against American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.) to evaluate the interior lineman.
Our analysis of his game is below, while an interview can be seen in the video above:
Cam Spence is a potential force on the interior, flashing the explosiveness and power needed to have an impact in the Big Ten. Considered one of the best 3-techniques on the East Coast, Spence can not only plug the run and eat up blockers, but he can get after the quarterback and make plays down the line too.
Physically, Spence has ideal size and length at 6-3, 295-pounds, complete with good arm length and big hands. He possesses a wide base and tree-trunk thick legs, making him difficult to move off the ball.
At the snap, Spence gains a terrific initial jump and can beat slow-footed linemen slow getting into their stances. He rockets forward and typically comes off the ball low and hard. Spence generates plenty of power at the point of attack too, thrusting upward from his base. He usually hits his man underneath their pads (i.e. his hand placement is on-point), keeps moving downhill and relentlessly scraps to fill the gaps. Given the above, it’s quite difficult to impede Spence’s forward progress.
It should be noted that Spence does much more than just ably navigate the A- and B-gaps. The wide-bodied big man is a superior athlete for his size, showing the ability to nimbly maneuver down the line. Spence has enough acceleration and quickness to catch runners before they turn upfield. He also uses his lengthy arms and violent hands to disengage, Spence mostly avoiding getting caught in traffic.
The same qualities aid Spence when rushing the passer. The Baltimore, Md., native employs that fast first-step and explosion to burst into the backfield. Again, he’s powerful enough, quick enough, athletic enough and deft enough to slice through gaps; chase down a quarterback; and finish the signal caller off.
Indeed, Spence is a finisher. When he angles in on an opponent, Spence wraps up well and sometimes drives his man backwards. He rarely allows any leaky yardage after contact.
For Spence to get even better, he mainly needs to keep working on his conditioning and lateral speed. Sometimes Spence will come out of his stance or get stood up at the point of attack, while at times his tackling form can be suspect. He needs to consistently keep his pads low and make sure he always keeps his feet moving after contact. All of that, however, is a sign of fatigue more so than physical shortcomings.
As Spence improves his stamina, he’ll naturally become more adept and tracking backs in the open field. Right now, he does his best work along the line, but isn’t the type to chase down a runner from the backside.
Furthermore, on misdirections or counters, Spence can get caught flatfooted once in awhile. Thus, he could stand to keep honing his change-of-direction agility and his play recognition.
Also, Spence has to continue honing his hand placement and become even more adept at shedding blocks. Once in awhile an opposing lineman will out-leverage him and push him off the ball.
Lastly, Spence could always add another pass-rush move or two to his arsenal, even though it’s not especially vital for an interior lineman. Right now, he relies on his natural abilities rather than particular techniques in passing situations.