Randall Cobb named to AP and SI All-American teams

Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb gets into a pattern during the Wildcats’ game with Tennessee at Neyland Stadium last month.

Photo by Jenifer Clark

Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb gets into a pattern during the Wildcats’ game with Tennessee at Neyland Stadium last month.

University of Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb was named to a pair of All-American teams on Tuesday.

Cobb, a Mr. Football winner his senior year at Alcoa High School in 2007, was named to The Associated Press All-America first team as an all-purpose threat. Cobb was informed on Tuesday that he will also be included in the soon-to-be-released “Sports Illustrated” All-American football team.

“Man, that’s pretty cool,” Cobb said, “a little kid from Alcoa.”

The former Tornado said he got word of the double All-American selection after a trip to the weight room on Tuesday. The Wildcats are preparing to meet Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 8 in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had just finished my workout and saw I had a few missed calls,” Cobb said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

A call to the Kentucky sports information department, he said, soon confirmed the news.

“It’s stuff I’ve always dreamed about,” Cobb said. “It’s like I’m living a dream.”

Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said he couldn’t be happier for Cobb.

“That’s great,” he said. “I talked to him earlier (Tuesday), and he’s excited about it. It’ll help his stock if he decides to go pro.”

Cobb’s 2,192 all-purpose yards this fall is a Kentucky single-season record and trails only former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden by 118 yards for the Southeastern Conference mark with a bowl game to play. Cobb is considering entering his name in the 2011 NFL Draft and has until Jan. 15 to make his decision.

After last month’s 24-14 loss to Tennessee, Cobb and Wildcat freshman tight end Tyler Robinson, himself a Mr. Football winner as a Tornado, met with a throng of Alcoa fans outside the visitor’s entrance to Neyland Stadium. Cobb fielded offers from Tennessee, and others, three years ago before honoring a verbal commitment he’d made to Kentucky.

The loss was a difficult one for Cobb, who may not get another shot at the Vols, at least not in Knoxville. If that proves the case, the Wildcat star will leave with no regrets, his father, Randall Cobb Sr., said.

“It was a tough loss, but he gave it his all,” Randall Sr. said. “He left it on the field. What more can you ask.”

They’ve only began to weigh Cobb’s professional options and whether he’ll return to Lexington for his senior season, Randall Sr. said.

“That’s his decision,” he said. “We’ll sit down at the end of the season and evaluate and go from there.”

Cobb finished the 2010 season with 79 catches for 955 yards and seven touchdowns receiving. At quarterback in Kentucky’s “WildCobb” formation, the versatile former Tornado rushed for 401 yards and five scores, completing three touchdown passes.

Believed to be Blount County’s first Associated Press All-American selection at the Division I level and almost certainly the first to make the “Sports Illustrated” team, Cobb returned 26 punts for 201 yards for the Wildcats this season. He would add 635 yards returning 27 kickoffs.

With 13 total touchdowns on the year, Cobb leads the Wildcats into a school-record fifth consecutive bowl appearance as the Kentucky scoring leader with 82 total points, 19 better than placekicker Craig McIntosh.

Cobb’s success at Kentucky should come as no surprise, Robinson said.

“It didn’t shock me one bit,” he said. “He’s just a great athlete, and he works hard.”

With all that’s happened during his Wildcat career, the All-American selections included, the decision to leave Kentucky would be a tough one, Cobb said. The consecutive bowl trips say a lot for a program moving in the right direction, he said, but there’s still a lot left to do.

“We’ve changed the atmosphere,” Cobb said, “but we still haven’t made that big jump that we wanted.”

Cobb helped Alcoa to four consecutive state championships as a Tornado, the last two with Kentucky’s new All-American at quarterback. During his senior season as a Tornado, the dynamic lefty completed 89 of his 139 passes for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He would add 793 yards rushing, averaging 9.0 yards per carry, and an additional 13 scores.

An honor roll student at Alcoa, Cobb was a Who’s Who Among American High School Students. His cousins - Shannon Mitchell (Georgia/ San Diego Chargers) and Billy Williams (Tennessee/St. Louis Rams) - both played on the professional level. The All-American selections come a year after Cobb was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by The Associated Press and ESPN.com.

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