Alcoa High School (TN) has produced great high school talent over the past few seasons, including 2006 All-ACC Freshman Brandon Warren, who currently plays Tennessee. A recent product of Alcoa is Kentucky freshman Randall Cobb.
Cobb has been Mr. Do-It-All for Kentucky this season. He started the season as a wide receiver and punt returner. After Mike Hartline's poor start to the season, Cobb was inserted as the starting quarterback for the Mississippi State game.
Cobb has a 1-2 record as a starter, but he has put a lot of life into the stagnant offense. He was a touchdown away from upsetting the Georgia Bulldogs in his second start, and from defeating Vanderbilt two weeks ago.
His story is a remarkable one. Cobb committed to Kentucky in June of 2007. Around Christmastime of the same year, Tennessee made a push for the Knoxville native Cobb.
There were multiple reports of Kentucky and Tennessee coming down to the wire for a signing day decision, but Cobb ended his recruitment with Tennessee in January. Kentucky eventually received his signature on the hectic signing day. Many reports have cited Tennessee's unorganized recruitment led him to becoming a Cat.
The signing of Cobb has parallels to that of Tennessee basketball great Chris Lofton. Lofton, a Kentucky native, was not recruited by former Kentucky basketball head coach Tubby Smith. Instead, Smith went with McDonald's All-Americans Rajon Rondo and Joe Crawford.
Lofton was a thorn in the Wildcats' side his entire career. After being swept three games in his freshman season, Lofton split the series with Kentucky his final three seasons, which included a 2008 SEC Championship.
Cobb can be the Chris Lofton of SEC Football. Many analysts and coaches have raved about Cobb's play over the recent weeks, and he should get a nod to the All-SEC Freshman team.
On Saturday, Cobb and the Cats travel to play Tennessee in Knoxville, Cobb's first meeting with the Vols. Cobb has been hush-hush about Tennessee this week, but many agree he has one thing on his mind: victory.
A victory over Tennessee not only ends a 23-game losing streak to the Vols, but also gives Cobb the vindication of defeating his hometown school. The victory also gives Kentucky their seventh win of the season, which guarantees a bowl game.
Chris Lofton left an effect on Kentucky basketball—now Randall Cobb looks to leave a similar effect on Tennessee football.