“Both my parents played sports in high school, but they didn’t go to college. I am the first one in my family that has actually been to college for a couple of years. My brother went for a year and both my older sisters went for a year, so I am really the first person in my immediate family to go to college. It is a pretty big deal and I have told my mom I want to get my degree. That is something I want to take care of while I am here.”
Cobb’s numbers at Kentucky are impressive. In 23 career games as a quarterback/receiver, he has 889 yards rushing and 644 yards receiving. He has scored 24 touchdowns in 23 games. He led the Cats in receptions with 39 for 447 and four touchdowns last year when he also rushed for 573 yards and 10 scores. He also averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return and 12.8 yards per punt return.
His mother, Tina, was not surprised he credited his father, Randall Sr., as being his biggest influence.
“His daddy always told him that there was always somebody out there better and he would have to play the best. He told him playing people bigger and stronger than you makes you get bigger and stronger. But he was not just a pusher. He was also a motivator. A lot of him had to do with his daddy being his coach when he was playing Pop Warner (little league). Randall was always the type if you said he could not do something, he wanted to prove you wrong. That motivates him — and his daddy knew that.”
His father was surprised his son picked him as the biggest influence on his career.
“He has had some great coaches. I coached him from when he was 7 years old until middle school,” Randall Cobb Sr. said. “He was always so competitive. He did not want anybody to outrun him. He wanted to be the best — and usually was because he worked so hard. I always told him if he didn’t work to get better, someone else was. I told him he had to separate himself from others, and I guess he took it to heart.”
His mother said her son was always the “little runt of his class” and repeatedly heard he was too small to do things.
“He has been told by everybody that there were a lot of things he could not do. He has a late birthday, so he was always the baby (youngest) in his class. When everybody else was turning 18 in high school, he was just 17. He turned 18 in college,” she said. “But he was too smart and too determined to hold back in school. His brother is seven years older than him and he was also hanging out with his friends. When he was competing with them, he always wanted to beat them.”
His mother was a bit taken aback to know he did credit her for his humble, respectful attitude. During a recent visit to the UK Birmingham Alumni Club, Cobb shook every person’s hand before he sat down to eat when he arrived after the SEC Media Days finished.
“That’s just the way I raised my kids. I want them to treat people the way he would want them to treat his mother or father,” she said. “I just taught him to respect people.”
Still, she’s been amazed by the way Kentucky fans have embraced her son on and off the field.
“He does have a personality you love, but it was still a shock to see the way fans took to him,” Tina Cobb said. “He has a heart that can fill a room with love. He always looked at the good in people or situations and never sees the bad. When he was younger, he was very shy. As he got older and was around older guys, he came out of his shell. Now anybody he never meets a stranger.
“Everybody here knows who he is, but he is not star-struck on himself. He is still just Randall. He has always been that way and I don’t think he will ever change. He’s always been very level headed. He doesn’t let things go to his head.”
Cobb’s father has been just as astounded by outpouring of attention for his son.