Hamilton spent his first practice as a defensive tackle this morning and will have to show strong technique as an undersized player at the position. Hamilton checked in at 245 pounds for the start of training camp.
"They felt it was best for me to play 3-technique because that's where I'm comfortable at," Hamilton said. "They said I picked up on end really well but was best to play 3-technique. ...I definitely am excited. I'm definitely happy with the switch."
Hamilton was a five-star nose tackle with Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) and will have the opportunity to study under fifth-year senior Vallone.
Also on the defensive line, junior Jamil Merrell will move back to the defensive end spot after working at tackle the first week. Merrell has experience at both spots, but the move provides a way to better spread depth through the defensive line.
Redshirt freshman fullback Paul Canevari has left the program and will transfer. Canevari was the third-team fullback and is expected to seek out opportunities as a tailback at the FCS level.
There are two additional position battles after coach Kyle Flood and his staff analyzed the first spring scrimmage. Flood had high praise for lineman Andre Civil on Saturday and moved the junior to right guard where he will compete with Taj Alexander.
"Mentally, sometimes when people switch positions they get upset and they don't perform very well," Civil said. "I feel like being switched from defense to offense helped me tremendously with this switch from left tackle to right guard. I'm still on the offensive side of the ball and I'll be all right."
Civil began his career a defensive lineman before moving to tackle in 2010.
"It's a great feeling, but it's not enough," Cooper said. "I want to come out here and continue to get better every day. It's really not about starting to me. It's coming out here and getting better every day."
Redshirt freshman Ben Martin moved back to running back after spending the offseason as a corner.
Flood will not be available for comment until after the evening session.