MISSOULA – Small town stars shine all over Montana. But it’s not easy for them to perform at the same level when they move up to a bigger stage. One Grizzly has fought for a spot for three years. And now it’s paying off.

Shayne Cochran was a multi-sport star at Culbertson, and an all-state performer on the 8-man football field. But for the past three years, he’s mostly been a spectator. The linebacker has collected only 8 tackles through his redshirt sophomore season.

But with UM’s three starters out with injuries, Cochran has moved up to the first string, and made plays in both scrimmages this spring. He’s showing his coaches and himself why he came to Missoula.

“I had some smaller school offers. This is my only Division 1 offer,” said Cochran. “Just getting the opportunity. I wanted to see if I could do it. I’m still trying to do that and still trying to prove myself. Past couple years being on the sidelines watching, it’s nice to get those mental reps. But actually being out here and being able to kind of show them what you can do, it really helps out the learning curve.”

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Cochran will suit up with the first string D again this weekend, and take on the starting offense in Montana’s annual Spring Game. He’s also excited that his parents and a few friends will make the trip to Butte to watch him play at 1:00 Saturday.