By Kody Kiser and
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Even as a kid, former University of Kentucky football player Randall Cobb was always thinking about setting goals and figuring out how to reach them.
But the current Green Bay Packers wide receiver wasn’t just focused on the game of football.
“I’ll be the first one to graduate (college) in my immediate family,” said the Tennessee native. “That’s something I always thought about as kid.”
On Sunday, May 8, Cobb will walk across the stage during UK Commencement ceremony at Rupp Arena, as his family and friends watch with pride.
“I have two more classes and then I’ll be graduating so they’re going to let me walk in May and I’ll be graduating in August,” Cobb said. “It really is a big accomplishment for me.”
In fact, Cobb says graduating from UK will stand out from the rest of the many accomplishments he has already made in life.
“That day will probably be the biggest one for my family and for me personally,” Cobb said. “I think that achievement is going to be bigger than any success I could have on the field because on that day I will have set a standard for my family and anyone that comes after me.”
Cobb says what he has learned by majoring in what is now called community and leadership development in UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment already helps him on the field.
"Once you get to a professional level it’s more mental than it is physical," Cobb said. "Everybody there is fast, everybody there is strong, and everybody there can do different things with their body and put their body in different situations. But it’s the mental process, you have to be able to do things in a very small window and be able to notice different things and make adjustments. You really have to have a high football IQ and I think having an educational background and learning how to think really helps you excel."
A first-team all-American in 2010, he loves recalling his time at UK both on the field and in the classroom.
“Probably my favorite class here was my leadership studies class with Grace Gorrell, or ‘Mama G,’ as I called her,” Cobb said with a wide grin. “I just always wanted to be the best leader I could be because I felt that that would help me on the field and in life. Just the way that she pushed us to be the best version of ourselves, that is something I’ve taken on in my life — being able to push myself and be the best version of myself and push the people around me to be the best version of themselves.”
Taking on a leadership role for a famed National Football League (NFL) franchise like Green Bay is a dream come true for Cobb.
“Every time I walk into the building I see the retired jerseys of Reggie White, Ron Hudson, Vince Lombardi,” Cobb said. “All the Super Bowl trophies are right there and you’re surrounded by just the most historic place you can imagine. It’s a special place to be and I’m very fortunate to be there.”
But even in the midst of so much history and success, Cobb remains focused on life after football.
“Education is important,” Cobb said. “The older I get, the more I understand how important it really is. I’ve been able to be really successful on the field. But I want to be successful in as many fields as I can.”
That’s another reason why earning his bachelor’s degree is so important to him.
“I’ve been in the league for five years and I’ve had a lot of success and hopefully I have a lot more time that I’m able to play,” Cobb said. “But, there’s going to be a time when that jersey comes off and I have to go into the real world and I’m going to need something to fall back on too whenever that time comes.”
When asked why he chose to finish his degree at UK, Cobb does not hesitate in his answer.
“Because this place means a lot to me,” Cobb said. “I grew up in Tennessee but Kentucky raised me. Kentucky made me who I am. This university has given so much to me and for me to be able to have my degree from here and to have it on the wall, ‘University of Kentucky,’ it’s just what I am and who I am.”
Watch the video above to hear more about what graduation day will mean to Cobb and his family. You’ll also discover what the former Wildcat thinks about the current program and the new Commonwealth Stadium as UK football coach Mark Stoops gives him a behind-the-scenes tour.
Story, video and photos by UKNow (University of Kentucky News), UK Public Relations & Marketing, UK Athletics and the Green Bay Packers