Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Versatile Hancock Earns His Stripes

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Versatile Hancock Earns His Stripes

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - Newly earned scholarship in hand, Chase Hancock took a look around a Marshall spring practice and came to the realization: Most major college walk-ons disappear. Quickly.

"When I first got there, there were about 15, 20 walk-ons, said the redshirt sophomore from Beckley. "Now there's only three of us still here. That says it all right there.

And MU's scholarship award said a lot. Many successful walk-ons earn scholarships, especially West Virginia or Tri-State area natives. They can receive those after two academic years in the program without counting against a class of initial "counters.

With that, Hancock could have reasonably anticipated receiving a scholarship this fall semester, not at the beginning of spring.

"Yeah, it was out of the blue, he said. "Coaches were telling me to keep working hard. As a walk-on, it's hard to do that.

"You see a lot of other guys on scholarship take it for granted sometimes, and you wish to be in their shoes. So yeah, it just came one day and every day I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders, and it's been great.

Hancock will appear with his teammates in the Green and White Game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

After working through his redshirt season of 2014, he had an eyebrow-raising spring. He made the depth chart as a second-team strong-side linebacker behind D.J. Hunter. That's a double whammy of sorts, though - not only is Hunter an NFL prospect, but the "Sam position typically goes by the wayside when the defense uses five defensive backs.

But Hancock earned his stripes on the kicking units, where he made many of his 18 tackles. He had a pass break-up in position play.

He's having another fine spring as Herd coaches are experimenting with linebacker combinations. In several practices, Hancock has worked with the first string, but then again, so have many other 'backers.

The big takeaways are this: By the head coach's reckoning, the 6- foot-1, 214-pound Hancock had another fine offseason, and he's working at all three positions.

In a 12-game season, that versatility will get you on the field in situations that count. So will quick thinking - Hancock had the other positions thrust upon him suddenly during practice. …

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