Vanderbilt Football TE Turner Cockrell Dies at Age 21 from Cancer

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 24:  Helmets of the Vanderbilt Commodores rest on the sideline during a game against during a 38-13 Vanderbilt victory over the University of Tennessee at Vanderbilt Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Vanderbilt tight end Turner Cockrell died Thursday of cancer at the age of 21 after he was diagnosed over a year ago. 

"My heart is broken for Randy, Noelle and the Cockrell family, for all of Turner's teammates, and for all who came in contact with Turner," Commodores head coach Derek Mason said in a statement, per the Associated Press. "Turner had a wonderful spirit and fought an incredible fight. He was a Vanderbilt Man through and through, and he will always be remembered here."

Cockrell was a scout team player in his first two years with the Commodores. In honor of Cockrell, the team has worn No. 82 stickers on their helmets this season, as he wasn't able to play due to his treatment.

Per the team's website: "Mason and the Commodores dedicated much of their season to Cockrell during his battle with melanoma. Cockrell sat with Mason's family in the coaches' suite during Vanderbilt's season-opening win over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 1. After the game, Mason delivered the game ball to Cockrell, who was celebrated by his teammates."

According to the AP, Cockrell was diagnosed with melanoma in Nov. 2017 after discovering two lumps in his neck. While he had surgery in Dec. 2017 to remove cancerous lymph nodes and underwent radiation, doctors found in July that the cancer had spread to his lungs.