Name: Stephen Spanellis
Weight: 307 lbs.
High school: Baltimore (MD) Gilman
Position: Offensive guard/center
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #72
Last year: I ranked Spanellis #44 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played in 13 games at center, guard, tackle, and elsewhere.
TTB Rating: #63
I believe Spanellis qualifies as what Jim Harbaugh would call “an ascending player.” He redshirted in 2016 and became the team’s jack-of-all-trades extra lineman in 2017. Tom Strobel previously held that role as a tight end and extra lineman, and with Strobel moving on to Ohio, Spanellis found himself inhabiting that spot. He would occasionally wear #97 to line up in the backfield as an extra fullback in goal line packages, too. When Patrick Kugler got hurt in the Outback Bowl, Spanellis ended up taking over the center position while Cesar Ruiz started and played at guard.
In the great All or Nothing season released on Amazon Prime Video this off-season, the production documented the coaching staff taking a look at Spanellis snapping the ball and beginning that transition. Spanellis was a tackle in high school, but he was expected to be a guard in college. Going into this season, he could very well be the #2 center behind sophomore Ruiz. I expect incumbents Ben Bredeson and Michael Onwenu to reprise their roles as the starting guards, but Spanellis is reportedly in competition at right guard with Onwenu, and there’s a chance he wins it. Whether he wins the job or not, I expect him to be a regular contributor, either as a backup or as an extra player for jumbo packages.
Prediction: Backup guard/center