TAMPA — Jefferson football coach Jeremy Earle makes it a point to know every 6-foot-3, 250-pound boy that walks the hallways. So in the fall of 2013, when he saw not just one, but two students that size he'd never met, Earle set out to change that.Twins Oscar and Jesus Gonzalez, first-generation Cuban-Americans, knew limited English then, Earle said, and the freshmen went about their business quietly, walking from class to class.Earle quickly used those moments to his advantage. "Of course I went into recruit mode, because you have to recruit your own hallways," Earle recalled. "They must have thought I was a nut, because every passing period, and every chance I had when I saw them … I'd go after them."It took some convincing, but that winter, they started joining the team in the weight room. A year and a half later, Oscar and Jesus not only stand out because of their size, but also because of their role on Jefferson's offensive line, starting at center and guard, respectively."They were rough around the edges," fellow offensive lineman Jean Marcellus said of his teammates. "It was a learning process for them … me and Kenny (Nelson), the senior offensive lineman, helped them out each time to get their footwork right, their hand placement, everything."But while Oscar and Jesus caught on quickly, their parents — Maria Santos and Oscar Gonzalez — didn't catch on as fast, Oscar said.One of Oscar's first memories of his twin brother was throwing a ball in their backyard as young children. Growing up, some sports were encouraged — their father boxed and played baseball in Cuba — but football wasn't one of them. "In the Cuban culture, it's not really football. Before I played football, I started playing baseball, because of my dad," Jesus said. "I played it for two years and got bored of it."When the twins started playing football at Jefferson, Santos wasn't really wild about the idea of her sons playing a contact sport, Jesus said. And on top of that, the twins had family obligations they had to take care of before attending practice was even an option.During Oscar and Jesus' first summer with the Dragons, Earle began noticing their absence at some of the offseason workouts. He soon found out that the boys had to miss practice in order to work with their father, a carpenter, to build their family's home.Once they settled into the new construction, Earle said, they haven't missed a practice — even if that meant walking to school."They busted their butts," Earle said. "They know how to work. Some of those same qualities have led to their success here, because it's not easy."Oscar was a reserve last season for the Dragons' offensive line, the brothers' first season playing football. Jesus began the season as a backup, but worked his way into a starting spot at guard for the final five games. This year, the brothers who grew up sharing everything will now bear the responsibility of being starters for a Jefferson offense that has potential to be one of the best in the area.And though that's a lot of pressure for players new to a complicated game, the pair feels at ease knowing they'll be right beside each other for every play. "It just makes it easier. We think alike. If he needs some help, I tell him. If I need some help, I'll ask him a question," Jesus said. "We're really competitive like always. … Also it's teamwork. Since we're both big, we help each other out."Oscar and Jesus' size — they now weigh in at 275 pounds each — and their rise up the ranks at Jefferson hasn't just benefited the Dragons. Earle, who has been at Jefferson for 10 years, knows next-level potential when he sees it. And he told the brothers early on that, if they continue to work hard, college football could be in their futures. That's something that pushes both of them every time they take the field."I want to go to college because my parents, I guess we're poor. We can't pay for college," Oscar said. "So football is another way for me to go to college. It's very important for me to do my best and work hard — do my best out of everyone — so I can go to college."Until then, Oscar and Jesus plan to get back to work getting the hang of the game they've grown to love. And while understanding the lingo and memorizing the playbook has been particularly tough, Oscar said, there's one part of the game they learned on the double."Hitting the person in front of you," he said, "that's the easiest part." Contact Kelly Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @_kellyparsons.