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Maryland's Shane Cockerille moves from offense to defense

Maryland's Shane Cockerille moves from offense to defense
Maryland quarterback Shane Cockerille (Gilman) is pictured during spring practice in 2015. (Baltimore Sun)

So far in his Maryland career, Shane Cockerille has redshirted at quarterback, become a special teams contributor, switched to fullback and moved back to quarterback, where he was forced into extensive action after injuries last November.

This spring, he's making yet another change.

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Cockerille, who was rated a four-star quarterback out of Gilman in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, is now a linebacker on Maryland's defense, marking the third position change of his career.

"Now's the time to do it," coach DJ Durkin said. "Find out what guys can do. There's no sense in wondering about it or waiting and then trying maybe in the fall when a guy gets hurt or something, you need a guy to move and all of a sudden, you're put in a position you're not ready for. We'll do a bunch of it as we keep going through spring, but I thought for his first day at it, Shane did a good job."

Last summer, former Maryland coach Randy Edsall moved Cockerille from quarterback to fullback after Cockerille requested a position switch to get on the field more. Cockerille said last July he hoped to move to linebacker but ended up staying in the backfield.

After Maryland revamped its offense with Perry Hills under center last October, Cockerille moved back to quarterback in the run-heavy scheme, though he continued to play fullback and on special teams.

In Maryland's 47-28 loss to Indiana in November, Hills was sidelined with mononucleosis and Caleb Rowe exited at halftime with an injury. Cockerille saw the most extensive action at quarterback of his career that day. He finished 11-for-22 for 82 yards passing and rushed for 23 yards in the defeat.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Cockerille joins a group of linebackers that is talented but could use additional depth. Middle linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. led the Terps in tackles last season, while outside linebacker Jalen Brooks appeared in all 12 games with 11 starts last season. But injuries to Abner Logan, Jefferson Ashiru and Brett Zanotto at the other outside linebacker spot forced Maryland to convert defensive back Denzel Conyers to linebacker.

Cockerille's goal in his Maryland career has been to contribute. And he has in the past at quarterback, fullback and on special teams. Next, he'll have the chance to do it on defense.

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