usatsi-8841852-220956-lowres.jpg
USATSI

The Vanderbilt community is mourning the loss of one of its own on Thursday night after tight end Turner Cockrell died following a battle with cancer. He was 21 years old. 

Cockrell was first diagnosed with melanoma in his lymph nodes in the fall of 2017. At the time, he was in his second year on Vanderbilt's scout team. 

Cockrell missed the entire 2018 season while undergoing treatment in Houston, but the team wore his jersey number, No. 82, on a helmet sticker all year. As his health declined, head coach Derek Mason made a point to celebrate Cockrell and his family during the season and send them messages of support them during press conferences.

"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," Mason said in a statement. "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."

Vanderbilt, bowl eligible at 6-6, will find out its postseason future on Selection Sunday.