It's become clear in the past month that Randall Cobb made the right decision in skipping his senior season at Kentucky to enter the NFL Draft.
Cobb has been one of the fastest-rising players in draft projections since the deadline for underclassmen to apply passed on Jan. 15. During the season, Cobb was viewed as a middle-round prospect, and the NFL Draft evaluation that he used in helping to make his decision viewed him as a third-rounder.
But in his latest mock draft, ESPN and Scouts Inc. draft analyst Todd McShay has Cobb going in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens as the 26th overall pick.
Just because Cobb's decision appears to have been validated doesn't mean it has been easy, however. Cobb, who signed with agent Jimmy Sexton, has been working out at the Athletes Performance Institute in Phoenix and admitted that he missed Lexington.
"That's been the hardest part, leaving my friends and family that I've been around the past three years," he said. "It was tough leaving. I was thinking the other day, that right now me and all the guys we'd be working with (UK strength) Coach Rock (Oliver) getting ready for the season. I had so many great times at Kentucky, and I'll always be a Wildcat. But I've also got to realize that I've moved on and it's time to take care of business."
Cobb is taking McShay's latest draft projection in stride.
"It was kind of cool to see, but it really didn't mean that much to me," he said. "I've got to keep working. Being projected there is one thing; getting there is another. I just have to keep up with the same work ethic I've had the past few years. I can't relax now because somebody says I'm going in the first round."
When asked what he thought was behind his rapidly rising stock, Cobb said, "I have no clue. Maybe scouts started watching my game film or maybe it's just word of mouth. I just hope that something good comes out of it."
Cobb will join fellow Wildcat Derrick Locke at the NFL Combine from Feb. 24-March 1 in Indianapolis. The one question regarding Cobb is his speed, and he knows scouts will be watching closely when he runs the 40-yard dash. He hopes to improve on the 4.55 he ran at UK's Pro Day last spring.
"Yeah, I think all the coaches and scouts want to see how fast I really am," Cobb said. "I think I will have an improved time, but honestly I don't think it's all that important. It's about how fast you are on the field, and sometimes that 40 time doesn't translate."
One area in which Cobb probably will excel at the Combine is the interview process. He's always been a polished speaker and a model representative of the UK program.
"That's something I'm really looking forward to," Cobb said of the interview process. "I think once I sit down and talk to teams, that it can really help me. They'll be able to see my passion and how I'm willing to come in and do whatever they need me to do to help the organization."
Twenty-two UK football players were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll for the fall semester. Kentucky's 47 overall representatives were the second-most in the league. Student-athletes must achieve at least a 3.0 grade-point average to make the honor roll. The UK players recognized were: Brian Adams, Ed Berry, Marcus Davis, Steven Duff, Brad Durham, Alex Dutton, Nathan Dutton, Antwane Glenn, Stuart Hines, Jake Lanefski, Derrick Locke, Luke McDermott, Craig McIntosh, Greg Meisner, Ryan Mossakowski, Billy Joe Murphy, Morgan Newton, Tyler Sargent, Pat Simmons, Matt Smith, Taiedo Smith and Ronnie Sneed.
Tee Martin honored
UK assistant coach Tee Martin was named one of the top 25 recruiters for the 2011 class by Rivals.com. Martin recruited the Cats' top overall prospect, four-star safety Glenn Faulkner, as well as quarterback Theltus "Bookie" Cobbins, receivers Demarco Robinson, Nile Daniel and Rashad Cunningham, and defensive back Eric Dixon. He was also instrumental in persuading receiver Daryl Collins to switch his commitment from Alabama to UK on national signing day.
Martin was rewarded with a raise, contract extension and title of passing game coordinator in late January.
Eight Cats are 'All-Commonwealth'
Eight UK players were selected to the "All-Commonwealth" team sponsored by the Kentucky chapter of the National Football League Players' Association. The "All-Commonwealth Team" recognizes players from every college football team in Kentucky, including all classifications. In addition to UK, this year's team features players from Murray State, Louisville, Union, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Georgetown and Campbellsville.
UK players honored were: wide receiver Randall Cobb, tailback Derrick Locke, quarterback Mike Hartline, guard Larry Warford, linebacker Danny Trevathan, safety Winston Guy and punter Ryan Tydlacka. Wide receiver Chris Matthews was an honorable-mention selection.
Michaels makes Kentucky's NFL hall
Former Wildcat Lou Michaels has been named to the Kentucky Chapter of the National Football League Players Association Hall of Fame. Michaels will be one of five players inducted into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes NFL standouts who played their college football in Kentucky.
Michaels was an offensive lineman, defensive lineman and kicker at UK from 1955-57, earning first-team All-America honors as a junior and senior. He went on to a 13-year NFL career as a defensive end and kicker, playing for the Los Angeles Rams (1958-60), Pittsburgh Steelers (1961-63), Baltimore Colts (1964-69) and Green Bay Packers (1971).
Michaels was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1962 and '63 seasons. The Kentucky Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be June 24 at the Lexington Opera House.
Joining Michaels in the class are Dale Lindsey (Western Kentucky/Cleveland Browns), Rod Hill (Kentucky State/Dallas Cowboys), Phil Simms (Morehead/New York Giants) and Kerry Rhodes (Louisville/Arizona Cardinals).
Matt Mumme gets OC job
Matt Mumme, former backup quarterback at Kentucky and the son of ex-UK coach Hal Mumme, has been named offensive coordinator at Davidson College.
Mumme spent the past two seasons working as his father's offensive coordinator at McMurry University, where his offense led all of Division III in passing touchdowns with 45.
Mumme lettered at UK in 1998 and was the backup to Tim Couch. He's best known for his 79-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt that sparked UK's 31-27 comeback win over Indiana.
Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.