Snapshot: Zamir Cobb

Zamir Cobb is a Washington D.C. kid who blossomed into an honor student-athlete at Philadelphia's Temple University. But more and more he's feeling like Pittsburgh has been his destiny all along.<br><br> Four years ago he married a Pittsburgh girl. It turned his life around, made him serious about his studies, so into his life stepped a mentor, another Pittsburgher. Now Cobb's with the Steelers and is considered the rookie free agent with the best chance of making the team.

Perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps the city has been a magnet for Cobb all along.

"I never had that feeling of Pittsburgh being my destiny," said Cobb. "Especially when I played here, because I pretty much had the idea that Larry Fitzgerald was Pittsburgh, so I didn't quite place myself in that realm. But it is now and I'm living it, loving it and am going to enjoy every moment of it."

Cobb received plenty of attention this past camp from reporters who were looking for a beneficiary of Plaxico Burress' holdout. Cobb stood out because of his hands, quickness and the braids flowing from beneath his helmet. He's also well-spoken, and didn't embarrass the reporter who asked Cobb if he was under a lot of pressure to "uphold Temple's tradition in the NFL." "It's a lot of pressure because you've got your school being judged on you alone and that's a lot of pressure," Cobb said, correcting a guy who must've read one too many Mathias Nkwenti press releases.

Why did Cobb choose Temple, a down-and-out football program that has since been kicked out of the Big East Conference?

"I wanted to get the feeling of home when I went away to school," he said. "Growing up in D.C., 10 minutes from Howard University, located in the inner city, I played Little League football across the street. That's sort of my feel for college football and going to school because that's what I saw as a child. I saw the Howard University students going to school. We'd watch their practices, we'd go to the homecoming and that's sort of what I got a feel for."

Because of a poor SAT score, Cobb was forced by the NCAA to sit out the football season and maintain a 2.0 GPA through 24 credit hours as a freshman. He complied and caught 27 passes as a redshirt freshman. He then converted to Islam, changing his first name from Charles, and married his fiancée Ashley. They have a three-year-old son named Zion.

A hernia injury limited Cobb to 19 catches as a sophomore, but he broke into the starting lineup as a junior and didn't come out. He caught 45 passes as a junior and a school-record 74 as a senior. He finished with a school-record 165 career receptions and also holds the school record with a 10.4-yard career punt-return average.

Cobb's academic standing also took off around his junior year. With the help of his mentor, Cobb made the honor roll three consecutives semesters and left school with a 3.0 GPA in social administration.

"I would say I drew significant interest in terms of my professors since I was an athlete, married, had a child, did well in school and did well on the field," Cobb said. "When I left, I was 14 credits from graduating and I was an honor student and I would graduate with honors, but I took the challenge of putting it all in football and hopefully something will come out of it. I did get an excused withdrawal from my college because I was in such good academic standing. So whatever the situation ends up here, I'm going to go back to school and they're going to pay for it."

With the Steelers in spring workouts, Cobb returned punts and backed up Hines Ward at flanker, but he received most of his repetitions at the slot position since Antwaan Randle El replaced Burress at split end.

"After the first or second team goes, coach throws me in depending on the position I know," Cobb said. "Right now I'm learning the F and the Z, the slot and the outside."

Wouldn't 'Z-Man' be the perfect nickname?

"I've got plenty of nicknames," he said. "In my neighborhood they still call me 'Mickey' because I had big ears when I was a kid. People call me 'Z,' 'Z-factor,' just to name a few."

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