Former Defensive Tackle Cam Spence Transitioning into Coaching Specialist
Players across the country have navigated through training in light of the pandemic, but phase one in Maryland’s reopening plan gave one Terp a chance to follow through on his dream.
Back in 2017, former St. John’s (DC) defensive tackle Cam Spence become one of Maryland’s first commitments during the cycle as the D.C. native opted for the chance to return home over offers from Penn State, Florida State, Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. After battling through injuries his first two seasons with the program, head coach Mike Locksley announced that Spence, along with wide receiver Chris Jones and linebacker Nnamdi Egbuaba, were medically disqualified ahead of 2019 fall camp. "All three of those guys were great Terps, great student-athletes [that] have done things the right way," Locksley added.
Spence was one of two that remained with the program as student assistants during the 2019 season, but this offseason, he was given another chance to follow through on his coaching aspirations.
Tabbed as a defensive line training specialist, Spence has trained across the NCAA and NFL as they’ve made their way into College Park. "I always built connections with people along the way when I was a high school recruit. Never burned bridges, always stayed in contact and asked how they’re doing, so I’ve always had good people and mentors around me. I decided to get into defensive line training and it’s kind of starting to take off from the people I know," Spence told All Terrapins.
That includes Jaguars outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, Steelers defensive tackle Cavon Walker, Bears linebacker Keandre Jones and Maryland senior defensive tackle Oluwaseun Oluwatimi as Spence runs drills. "They’re top guys like Josh Kaindoh from Florida State, my little brother Taron Vincent at Ohio State, (Stanford defensive end) Thomas Booker—all guys I’ve grown up with and want me to train them now. It’s not like I’m not doing anything, I’m giving them good work and getting better."
The common connection? Several grew up together, but all hail from within the DMV.
Ngakoue solidified himself among the premier pass-rushers in the NFL, but before that, the former Friendship Collegiate Academy standout spent three years leading the Terps’ pass-rush. Jones, a touted 2016 prospect out of Good Counsel, spent one year in College Park and has teamed up with Spence ahead of his rookie season with the Chicago Bears.
Meanwhile, former defensive tackle Cavon Walker reestablished himself in his lone season in the XFL as he led the league in sacks and now, he’s preparing for his first season with the Steelers in his third year in the league. "He was my big brother and it’s funny, his little brother--which is me--is now his trainer," Spence added. After graduating from DeMatha, now-senior defensive tackle Oluwaseun Oluwatimi will step into a leadership role for Maryland in 2020 while former Quince Orchard defensive tackle Adam McLean will spend his final season at Bowie State.
Senior defensive end Sam Okayinonu, junior linebacker Ayinde Eley, sophomore defensive end Tyler Baylor and redshirt defensive end Deshawn Holt all spent time working on their technique with Spence, while Syracuse defensive end Caleb Okechukwu--his senior year teammate at St. John’s-- also made their way onto campus. Former DeMatha and N.C. State defensive end Deonte Holden reconnected with Spence as he hopes to continue his playing career into the NFL, while former Gilman defensive tackle Taron Vincent made the most of his time back at home as the childhood friends hit the field together.
With the love of the game driving his ambition past his playing days, Spence is embracing his early success. "I still have my goal set to be a top position coach in the power five, but this thing is kind of blowing up for me, so it all depends on how things go."