Maryland's football season starts in 62 days. Until then, we're doing a player-by-player preview of the entire roster.
Shane Cockerille, linebacker
Year: Redshirt junior
Weight: 235 pounds
High school: Gilman (Md.)
Jersey number: 2
How Cockerille got to College Park
Cockerille was a high three-star quarterback recruit in the class of 2013. Mike Locksley pursued him persistently and got Cockerille to sign with Maryland, where he carried some hope of being the Terrapins’ next really good quarteback.
It hasn’t worked out that way. Randy Edsall moved Cockerille to fullback before last season, and when Edsall was fired at mid-year, Locksley re-converted Cockerille to QB. DJ Durkin made him a linebacker in spring practice, and that’s where he is now.
A career highlight so far
Cockerille had 82 passing yards in a relief appearance against Indiana last season, during a brief run of play at quarterback.
This is where things get very interesting.
When former QBs get moved to fullback and then to QB again and then to linebacker, the first thought is that it's not with an eye toward the player becoming some kind of great force. But Cockerille took first-team reps during spring practice, playing as a roving linebacker next to MIKE backer Jermaine Carter Jr. in nickel formations.
DJ Durkin hasn’t said much publicly about what his depth chart will look like. But Cockerille appears to be in good shape to get meaningful playing time as a linebacker, at least in the nickel and perhaps beyond.
What a dream season would look like
Cockerille sticks in the rotation at linebacker and becomes a major contributor. His athleticism manifests itself in strong coverage skills, and he beefs up enough to become a force against the run, too.
The next players in the series...
... punt footballs. This'll be a three-man post.