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Former Maryland QB Shane Cockerille settling into new role at fullback

After moving from quarterback to fullback, Maryland’s Shane Cockerille is having a productive camp. (Doug Kapustin/Washington Post)

Shortly after he completed spring practice as one of two healthy quarterbacks on Maryland’s roster, Shane Cockerille needed a change. He had arrived at Maryland in 2013 as a four-star quarterback who had risen to prominence at local prep power Gilman, but after struggling to climb the depth chart in College Park for two seasons, Cockerille approached Maryland Coach Randy Edsall about a potential position change.

Both decided that Cockerille could best showcase his athleticism at fullback, a bold move that is beginning to pay dividends in fall camp. Instead of wearing a yellow jersey and remaining off-limits for contact, Cockerille is seeking it as he pushes for playing time at his new position.

[As Maryland’s fall camp nears end, position battles hit crunch time]

“I started really playing quarterback freshman year of high school…growing up I played running back and linebacker, so I was kind of used to hitting,” Cockerille said. “Getting back into it this year it was definitely a big adjustment, the hitting and physical-wise. But after the first few weeks of camp, I’m getting back to it.”

What is being asked of Cockerille is completely different than his previous responsibilities as a quarterback, where he took first-team reps for much of the spring. Instead of staying with the position – which is currently swirling with questions as Perry Hills, Daxx Garman and Caleb Rowe compete for the starting job – Cockerille has relished his new role. And he’s impressed Edsall, who said last week that the redshirt sophomore is pushing juniors Kenneth Goins Jr. and Andrew Stefanelli.

“I’ve liked the adjustment. I’ve liked what I have seen out of him, not only in terms of blocking but also in terms of coming out of the backfield and catching the ball. Good athlete, good hands,” Edsall said earlier in camp.

After the third day of camp, Cockerille admitted, he felt as though he “could crumble over.” His legs were tired. His shoulders and neck were sore. It has been a departure from his first two fall camps at Maryland, where he dealt with much less physical wear and tear.

“It just comes with the position, hitting guys every play,” Cockerille said.

Cockerille said he weighed about 237 pounds entering camp – about 15 pounds heavier than when he played quarterback – which has helped him deal with the natural physicality of the position. Cockerille is used to the ball being in his hands – “I definitely love running the ball,” he said – but he’s also focused on developing as a run-blocker and pass protector. He’s also expected to be a key special teams contributor, currently projected to start on kickoffs and seeing time with the punting and returns units.

“Just trying to do everything,” Cockerille said. “Whatever is asked of me.”

More on Maryland and the rest of college football:

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Ten games you’ll have to see this season

Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo poised for breakout season

Edsall says Perry Hills is currently leading quarterback race

TCU and Baylor are trying to upend the Big 12 hierarchy

Five takeaways from Maryland’s open scrimmage