Cobb Enters NFL Draft

Jan. 13, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb has decided to give up his senior season of eligibility and enter the 2011 National Football League draft, he announced Thursday.

The multi-talented Cobb contributed as a wide receiver, quarterback, punt returner, kickoff returner and kick holder. He was named first-team All-America in 2010 as an all-purpose player by The Associated Press, ESPN.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He was a consensus first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

In his recently completed junior year, Cobb broke the SEC single-season record for all-purpose yardage with 2,396 yards. He led the SEC in receptions per game by catching 84 passes for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns but his value far exceeded those contributions. He played quarterback in the "WildCobb" formation and rushed for 424 yards and five touchdowns and threw three TD passes in that role.

Cobb's versatility as an all-purpose player is underscored by the fact that he was the only player in the nation who ranked first or second on his team in rushing, passing and receiving in 2010. He put points on the board eight different ways this season - rushing, receiving and passing for touchdowns; returning a punt for a TD; throwing for a TD on a fake field goal; and notching two-point conversions by rushing, passing and receiving.

Although not completing his eligibility, Cobb also posted outstanding career numbers during his three seasons with the Wildcats. He broke the UK all-time record for total touchdowns (37) and ranks fourth in career all-purpose yardage (4,674), fourth in career scoring (226 points), fifth in career pass receptions (144) and sixth in career receiving yardage (1,661).

Cobb also earned a reputation as a clutch player. He scored the game-winning, come-from-behind fourth-quarter touchdown against five teams in his career – Arkansas in 2008; Louisville, at Auburn and at Georgia in 2009; and South Carolina in 2010.

For more information on Cobb’s career, see the attached biography Get Acrobat Reader .

Cobb Becomes Sixth Wildcat to Give up Senior Season: Randall Cobb is the sixth player in Kentucky history who has chosen to give up his senior season and enter the National Football League draft. The others, with their final playing season at UK in parentheses, were running back Moe Williams (1995), quarterback Tim Couch (1998), defensive end Dennis Johnson (2001), tight end Derek Smith (2001) and defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson (2002).

Quotes from Randall Cobb news conference, Jan. 13, 2011

Opening Statement
“I’m a little sick, so excuse my voice. Growing up as a kid in east Tennessee, football was king. I can remember playing on the hills in jeans in my cousin James Randall’s jersey.  Alcoa High School is a storied program with 12 state championships. My uncle Kevin Jackson was the quarterback on the 1989 state championship team. James, who we call ‘Stink,’ was the star running back on the undefeated 2000 state championship team. Everyone that I know argues who had the best team in school history. I always talked how I couldn’t wait to play high school football at Alcoa. We could be on the best team in history.”

“When I was in high school, I won a state championship every year. I went 55-5 over those four years, and now I can argue that I played on one of the best teams. Playing at such a storied program, we had a lot of scouts come through. I set out to go to camps, hoping that somebody would pick me up. I went to camps across the South. I can remember one school where the coach told me that I had a great camp, and I was a really good player, but I would never play division one football. It crushed me, but I kept fighting.”

“A year later, I came to Kentucky, with one of my best friends, Kyrus Lanxter, who had been given a college scholarship and was playing football at Kentucky. By the end of the camp, the coaches were impressed by my game, and they offered me a scholarship. I committed a couple of weeks later. My senior year, me and my parents drove up (Interstate) 75 to watch games in 2007. I was there for the (Louisville) game when Andre hit Stevie on the sideline for the game-winner. I rushed the field. I was here when Braxton (Kelley) made the game-winning tackle vs. LSU. I rushed the field too. With all of that being said, I couldn’t wait to become a part of the UK tradition, and the program. I knew that the program was on the rise, and I wanted to help in any way that I could.”

“Although I was already bleeding blue, my hometown team of Tennessee offered me a scholarship. I didn’t know what to do. I was stuck. Should I leave home, or should I stay home and play for the Vols? I knew blue was the color for me. I came to Kentucky not only for football, but for the fans, too. Whenever I was being recruited, I remember talking to fans, and the fans knew exactly who I was, and I hadn’t played a snap yet.  That made me and my family (feel) really special. My three years here have been the time of my life. From the field, to the campus, to being a part of this wonderful community, I have enjoyed every second. Every last second.

“One thing Coach Sanders always talks about is making memories. I have made many of them with my teammates, coaches, administration, and fans that I will never forget. From going to bowl games every single year, to the wild finishes, it feels like just last week we had the crazy comeback against Arkansas (in 2008). And just yesterday, we went on the road and beat Georgia and Auburn at their stadiums. But a special moment stands out this last year, when we took down South Carolina and the Ole’ Ball Coach and everybody rushed the field. I finally had that feeling that I had when I came in ’07, and I saw that happen.”

“This decision has been waiting on me for awhile, and as hard as it was, I had to make the best decision for me, and I felt it was my time to go and pursue my dream to play in the NFL. I have had the dream since I was a child growing up since I was four years old. I was lying in bed, and that was the only thing I wanted; to play football in the NFL. As hard as this is for me, I feel as if I am physically and mentally ready for the next level, and also I had positive feedback from the NFL evaluations.”

“I would like to take this time to thank my coaches, Coach (Joker) Phillips, Coach (Randy) Sanders, and Coach (Rich) Brooks for believing in me from day one, and all of the offensive staff for placing me in position to showcase my talents to the best of my abilities and putting me in positions to succeed. Even sometimes when I felt it wasn’t right, when I moved from quarterback to receiver, I knew it was the best move for me, and they knew it was the best move for me. I would like to thank Coach (Tee) Martin who has been like a big brother to me. He has taught me the essentials of being a good receiver and motivated me each and every day to be not only the best player, but the best man I could ever be. I would like to thank Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart and the administration for allowing me to represent this university. I would like to thank Coach Rock (Oliver) for giving me the strength physically and mentally and being like an uncle to me; always there when I needed somebody to talk to.  I would like to thank Jim Madaleno in the training room for taking care of me. I knew that could have been a problem since I was in pain a lot. I would like to thank (equipment manager) Tom Kalinowski for keeping me protected, and providing me with the best pads and the best armor that I could take. And most of all, I would like to thank my teammates. None of this is possible without them. I could have not have been in this position without every last one of my teammates. We said out there that we could make each other better, and I know they will continue their success.”

“Kentucky is a great place to play football for many reasons. All of the bowl games we have been to. Week in and week out, we are playing against the best teams in the nation, and we are playing in the toughest conference in the nation. We have a chance to test our manhood every time we step out on the field. I know without a doubt in my mind my teammates will carry on the tradition, and we will continue to recruit top athletes and develop the best players. I will continue to represent this university to the best of my ability and wear my UK Blue and White with pride.”

On how much he wrestled with this decision…
“I have been wrestling with it for a while. I got a chance to go home and talk to my family and I talked to them and I was able to go over to the church. I was over at the church for a couple of hours and I just prayed. That’s all I could do, was just pray and try and figure out what the best move was for me. You know, God led me in a direction to step away, and step out on faith and make the jump, so I just feel like I’m going to do what I’m told.”

On what he heard from the NFL…
“I got evaluated, and it came back that I was a third-round prospect. So, you know that can go anywhere from two to four. I’m just going to do whatever I can to improve my stock and do whatever I can to improve and get better.”

On if he felt relieved once he reached a final decision…
“I did. It was hard, but I did feel relieved. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I just felt like it was right.”

On his teammates encouraging him to stay…
“A little bit. They definitely wanted me to come back another year, and we have just had so many great times. They wanted what was best for me, and they respect I need to move on, and they respect what’s best for me.”

On Morgan Newton pitching for him to stay…
“Like you said, Morgan (Newton) is one of my closest friends, and we talked. I wanted to come back, but at the same time, I had to do what’s best for me, too. That has nothing to do with how good of a quarterback I think Morgan (Newton) is because I think when his time comes, I think Morgan will be one of the best quarterbacks to ever come through this university.”

On what Coach Joker Phillips said to him while making his decision…
“Well, I wrestled with (the decision) for a while; about a month or two. Once I realized that I would have a chance to leave, and I went in to talk to Coach (Joker) Phillips.  Of course he told me that he wanted me back, and of course he gave me the recruiting pitch, but he also told me that he has seen me grow as a man, and  he was going to respect my decision, and know I was going to do what’s best for me.”

On if he considered the NFL labor dispute at all…
“I did. I did. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, but I did my homework. It could hurt me. It’s just one of those things where I am stepping out on my faith and hoping that things go right.”

On Tennessee coming after him his senior year of high school…
“When I came up here, every single time I came up here, I thought it was home. Every single time. Anybody I talked to from the coaching staff, to the fans and everybody, it just felt like home.”

On if he talks with current UK alumni in the NFL…
“Yeah, I do. They told me to do what’s best for me and to try to keep my emotions out of it which was the hardest thing.”

On his favorite touchdown out of the 37 in his career…
“Probably the first one against Norfolk State. It was just that feeling that I had finally done something. I think that was the best one.”

On when he knew he could succeed in college…
“I always thought I could. I didn’t think I had an exact moment where I felt like ‘that was the moment’ kind of moment.”

On how hard it is to leave his teammates…
“It made it that much harder. It was the team that I put first. Every single time. I had to get to a point where I had to block all of that stuff out and try to see what was my best option.”

On the feeling of being so beloved by the UK fans…
“That’s one of the most memorable memories that I’m going to have, just because the fans feel that I’m that special to them. The road I have had, and being able to have an influence on their life. I think that is the most important thing is to be a blessing to somebody else’s life. “

On how tempting it was to come back to try and beat Tennessee…
“That was something that I really wanted to do. I still think that that (beating Tennessee) is going to happen. I had a vision when I came here of all of those things happening. I talked to Coach (Joker) Phillips and he is going to keep it going. One thing that goes with players is that we pass through. We pass through the program. There are going to be guys that will carry that tradition and keep the program going. I know that Coach (Joker) Phillips will recruit kids that will have passion and that will want to play in games like that.”

On how hard it was to move to wide receiver…
“It was very difficult. I mean, I didn’t really want to move, but I knew that it was a better move for the team and the coaching staff knew it was a better move for the team. So, I went with it. I worked my butt off and did everything that I could and I did everything that I was told to try to make the team better at that position and try to make the team better at that position. All of the hard work, and all of the coaching that I got really paid off and it put me in a position today.”

On what he is going to miss the most…
“The locker room. Definitely the locker room is going to be the thing I miss the most. I think that is really where we bond as teammates, is the locker room. We have a lot of good times and a lot of good memories that come from there.”

On going to another level with more critics that will question his size…
“Yeah, they will. That is something that will fuel me. It is something that always will. I guess whenever that time comes, and I start getting all of that negativity, it is just going to push me in training to go harder.”

Coach Phillips often said that Cobb had the “it” factor.  On what “it” is…
“I got to say the ‘it’ is my faith.  That sums it up. I have something inside of me that pushes me to keep going. I try to be the best me, and I try to do the best that I can do not only for myself, but for the people around me.”

On this decision being as hard as deciding between Kentucky or Tennessee for college…
“Way more difficult. There are a lot of similarities, but I think it’s a lot different than what it was for me to pick a school because I knew where I was going, I knew what I was going to be doing, I had been there before, so I think this is a lot different because I don’t know where I am going to end up. I got to take it day-by-day and find out where life is going to take me.”

On when he made his final decision…
“We played on Saturday. We got back home on Sunday, so it was Sunday night. I went over to the church Sunday night and my preacher opened up the sanctuary for me and just let me go in there by myself.”

On how hard it was to leave college…
“It was really hard. I really enjoyed college. And you know, everybody says you’re a man, but really in college you still get babied a lot. Now, I am really stepping out, and I am going to have to become a man now. The college experience was great. Everything from the people I have met, to all things we do as college kids have been a blast, but it’s time for me to move on.”

On if it has sunk in yet…
“Yeah, a little bit. It goes to show that you can never give up on your dream, and you can do anything. Really, you are the only one that can help yourself.”

On fans supporting him…
“I just process that as a blessing. Not to me, but to everybody else. I want to be a blessing to everybody else. You know, I want to influence and inspire other people and hopefully now that I am leaving I can say that I influenced somebody else.”

On if he has a role model in the NFL…
“I would say somebody like Wes Welker.  Someone just like me that can return kicks and hopefully I can put more work into my game and have the potential of being an outside receiver one day.”

On the NFL process…
“From here, I have to go find an agent and get somewhere and get training.  I have to get ready for pro days and anything else where I can get in front of coaches and show them my talent.”

On what he needs to improve on…
 “I talked to a few coaches, and they told me I need to work on my route running and getting in and out of breaks. So that is one of the main things I will be focusing on in the next couple of months.”

On coming back to UK and getting a degree…
“That’s the first thing I will do when I get a chance. I want to set some money aside so I will have the chance of coming back to finish my degree. I don’t know when, but I will get my degree. That is the one thing that I promised my mom and my grandmothers.”

On if he had a favorite NFL team growing up…
“No. My dad was a big Steelers fan, so I watched a lot of Steelers ball because of that. My dad was a big 49ers fan, so I watched Jerry Rice and all of them growing up as a kid.”

On how nice it would be to be a Tennessee Titan…
That would be nice. Not too far away from home. Not too far from here. It would give a chance for all of my family and friends to come see me play.”

On if it has hit him yet that he will have a last time to walk out of the Nutter Training Center…
“No, I really don’t think it has hit me yet. But, I don’t look at it that way, because I always will plan on returning.”

On his final message to the fans…
“I love you all. Thank you for everything. I hope that in some way, shape, or form, I was able to influence or inspire you.  For all of the kids out there, I hope that you can keep your dreams and always, always keep pushing after them and don’t let anybody stop you.”

On how he grew as a person at UK…
“By being able to realize the influence I had on certain people, and realizing I can be an influence, and that I can be a role model for kids, and that I can put myself out there as a leader in the community and  know that we (players) care about them (the community). The kids are the ones that are important because they are the (leaders) of tomorrow.”