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Maryland football hopes its redshirt sophomore defensive tackles can realize their potential

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The Class of 2017 recruits haven’t made the leap yet, but the opportunity will be there this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Maryland at Indiana
Brandon Gaddy could see more playing time in 2019.
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Our summer football preview continues to move along. After looking at the entire offense -- quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and the offensive line -- we’ve turned to the other side of the ball, starting with the defensive line this week. Thomas overviewed the position on Monday, Wes broke down the defensive ends and their adjustments on Tuesday and Lila looked at the veteran defensive tackles on Wednesday. Now it’s time to look at second-line of defensive tackle contenders for 2019.

Here are three redshirt sophomores that could make an impact in the trenches for the Terps.

Brandon Gaddy, No. 98

Height: 6’2
Weight: 300
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.
High School: Bishop Sullivan Catholic

Brandon, along with his twin Breyon, originally committed to Tennessee in July 2016, but decommitted on Nov. 29. Nearly 10 days later, the twins came to Maryland for an official visit; they verbally committed two days later. Despite speculation that they would flip their commitment to Florida, Brandon and Breyon announced the day before National Signing Day that they would maintain their commitment to the Terps.

Brandon entered Maryland as a three-star recruit and the No. 18 player in Virginia, per 247Sports Composite. After redshirting his freshman season, Brandon appeared in 10 games last year, mostly on special teams, and had two total tackles.

Also, let’s not forget that he can do this:

Breyon Gaddy, No. 99

Height: 6’2
Weight: 334
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.
High School: Bishop Sullivan Catholic

Breyon was the more-highly regarded recruit among the twins, grading as a four-star recruit and the No. 14 player out of Virginia, according to 247Sports Composite. He was listed at 360 pounds during his freshman year, and like Brandon, he redshirted the 2017 season. Breyon, down 24 pounds, returned the following year and appeared in 11 games, notching six total tackles and one forced fumble.

Cam Spence, No. 55

Height: 6’3
Weight: 300
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Hometown: Washington, D.C
High School: St. John’s/IMG Academy/Gilman

Spence played his first two years of high school football at Gilman in Baltimore, then spent his junior year at IMG Academy before coming back to the DMV for his senior year at St. John’s. He was rated as a four-star defensive tackle and the No. 3 player in D.C, per 247Sports Composite.

Spence was recruited by schools like Kentucky, Penn State, Florida and Auburn, but committed to Maryland in April 2016, becoming the second member of his family to join the Terps. His late uncle, Larry Stewart, was an All-American offensive linemen for the Terps in 1979. After battling injuries throughout his early career, though, Spence has yet to appear in a game for Maryland.

All three players could be reinforcements in Maryland’s defensive line rotation

With the Terps losing all their 2018 starters at the defensive line, including Jesse Aniebonam, Byron Cowart and Mbi Tanyi, seniors Keiron Howard and Oluwaseun Oluwatimi appear in line to get the majority of the snaps. But the Gaddy twins and Spence should see time this season and could still challenge for starting roles in fall camp.

This year should allow both Breyon, who profiles more as a nose tackle, and Brandon, who has the athleticism to play on the inside or at defensive end, to take another step in their development. Spence, meanwhile, still has potential and could also make a splash if he remains healthy.

While all three are viewed as high-upside guys, this season should provide opportunities to really showcase their ability. Come the 2020 season, this trio will be the veterans of the defensive line, so this fall is a chance for them to make a statement at Maryland’s most unproven position.