One that got away

Whenever a local prospect goes to another school, Tennessee's head coach is going to hear a little grumbling. Whenever a local kid goes to another school and THRIVES, Tennessee's head coach is going to hear a lot of grumbling.

Case in point: Kentucky's Randall Cobb. He grew up in Alcoa, 20 minutes from the UT campus, but picked the Big Blue over the Big Orange. Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer caught some flak when Cobb signed and caught even more when he proved to be the Wildcats' chief offensive weapon in 2008. Fulmer would be catching even more flak if he were still around because Cobb is having another big year in 2009.

Cobb leads all SEC position players in scoring at 8.4 points per game. Despite missing a game due to injury, he has produced nine touchdowns rushing, four receiving and one on a punt return. He ranks fourth among SEC players in all-purpose yards at 143.3 per game - averaging 43.6 rushing, 40.3 receiving, 29.2 on punt returns and 30.2 on kickoff returns. Additionally, he has passed for 46 yards this season but that statistic is not included in all-purpose yardage.

Cobb also excels on special teams, ranking third among SEC players in punt-return average (13.3 yards) and ninth in kickoff-return average (25.2).

His value to Kentucky is, simply put, immeasurable. He is the Big Blue's most dangerous weapon - leading the team in yards per carry (6.6) and ranking second in net yards (436). Cobb also leads the team in receiving yards (403) and receiving touchdowns (4).

Despite average speed and an unimposing 5-11, 188-pound frame, Cobb is a big-play specialist. He has a 61-yard scrimmage run, a 55-yard reception and a 73-yard punt return to his credit this year.

In short, Randall Cobb is a player that first-year Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin would like to see in orange - not blue - Saturday night in Lexington.

"People always think in recruiting about making your own team better," Kiffin said. "But if you miss on a guy and he goes within your conference and you don't take him, then it's a double-whammy. Not only is he not playing for you, but then you have to play him every season.

"This is a situation that, not only would he make us better and be playing for us and scoring touchdowns for us, but also he wouldn't be on THEIR team. You are talking about potentially a 14- to 21-point difference in one player about whether he signed with Tennessee or went to Kentucky."

The sensational sophomore isn't as flashy as Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster but he may be even more versatile. Playing quarterback, Cobb posted 100-yard passing performances against Georgia and Vanderbilt in 2008. He posted a 100-yard rushing performance vs. Auburn in 2009 and just missed a 100-yard receiving effort in the '09 opener vs. Miami of Ohio, finishing with 96 yards on 7 catches.

How many other players are capable of compiling 100 yards rushing, 100 yards passing and 100 yards receiving in a single game?

"He has the ability to make plays," Kiffin said. "He's not necessarily the fastest guy; he is not the biggest guy; he is just one of those football savvy players....

"No matter where they put him, no matter when he got the ball, he just made plays. You see it whether it is catching a pass, taking a snap or on a handoff or returning. He just has the ability for people to not get him down and just to make plays no matter where he is."


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