HomeGrown: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers wide receiver

Whether it's running a post route or a kickoff return, Randall Cobb is one of the most versatile players in the NFL.

"That was always my goal and to actually live it out is a blessing," said Cobb. "I remember nights in high school I would just come out here and walk around the field, and I'd think to myself where I wanted to be in five years."

For him, it's still surreal, but probably little surprise to those who watched the Alcoa native grow up.

"At 7 and 8, I was playing football in that little bitty field next to Alcoa High School."

A shy kid, Cobb was all about sports, always wanting a ball over a toy. And, on fall Saturdays, he had a sweet gig 13 miles from home selling hot dogs inside Neyland Stadium.

"I would sell all my hot dogs and I'd go back and turn in my money and sit on the steps and watch the game."

He liked Tennessee football, but followed players more than teams like Todd Helton and his favorite, Tee Martin.

"Growing up here I watched him play and watched him win a National Championship."

However, early on, Cobb thought basketball was his ticket

"And then, I realized in middle school I wasn't going to be 6'4."

At 5 foot 10 inches, he continued to play and was a three-sport athlete at Alcoa: football, basketball, track.

"I was always a hard worker, so continuing to get better and better with each year has always been a strong point for me."

That hard work paid off. The tornadoes were four-time state champions during Cobb's high school career. He watched two from the bench and the last two as a starter earning the title Mr. Football his senior year. Cobb got offers from both the University of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State University and verbally committed to the Wildcats.

"And I was stoked about that."

Then, Tennessee, the team he grew up watching, finally took notice and made a late offer.

"I just didn't feel that it was right for me. I made the decision that would be best for my future and I think it's paid off well."

As a freshman, Cobb didn't start his first game at Kentucky, but after scoring two touchdowns in the last five minutes of a comeback win against Arkansas, the left-hander started every game after. And, at season's end, Cobb was the only athlete in the nation playing both quarterback and punt returner. To date, he holds Kentucky's all-time record for total touchdowns.

"Kentucky will always be a special place to me because that's where I believe I became a man."

His only regret is coming up short against Tennessee.

"I never did beat them."

Cobb left his senior year to enter the 2011 draft. He and his family watched and waited in the Big Apple.

"Green Bay took me with the last pick of the second round."

He'll never forget that phone call.

"Just seeing the excitement on all my family members face looking around the table, it was a special moment for me."

It was also life-changing with a $3 million contract and endorsements. Not bad considering he had no idea where Green Bay was.

"Lambeau Field, the frozen tundra-- that's all I knew."

Cobb made quite an impression during his professional debut with a 108-yard kickoff return, tying the longest in NFL history. In just three years, Cobb has racked up impressive stats, but his off the field presence is also something to be applauded.

"It's not about me. It's never about me."

His priorities are faith, family, football, and serving others with a humble heart.

"It's not about what I do, it's how I do it. It's about giving back to those who can benefit from my gain."

Whether it's Cobb's youth football camp or the backpack food program he started in Alcoa schools.

"I know it can be taken away from me at any time."

Cobb learned that lesson week six at Baltimore after a fractured fibula sidelined him six to eight weeks. He's staying positive though and catching up on TV.

"In my free time that's my way of relaxing."

And you can bet Wisconsin's winter will have him pining for East Tennessee summer.

"I like the humidity."

He also likes the taste of home from his grandmother's cooking.

"She makes this cube steak with gravy and cream corn."

And his favorite restaurant is Bread of Heaven.

Randall Cobb, born in Alcoa, HomeGrown in Tennessee.

"Being from here has taught me a lot about character and about influence."

(USA Today Sports Images: Randy Sartin, Benny Siev, Evan Habeeb, Jeff Hanisch and Kelley L. Cox)


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