The past weekend was a big one for Randall Cobb (the football part, not the tweeting).
Cobb scored his fifth game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown as a Kentucky Wildcat in UK's 31-28 upset of No. 10 South Carolina.
That TD, the 33rd of Cobb's remarkable career, made the jack-of-all-trades Kentucky's all-time leader in career touchdowns — with five regular-season games still left in his junior year.
It seems an appropriate time to weigh where Cobb stands among the all-time best football players to wear UK blue.My memory of Kentucky football starts with the first season in Commonwealth Stadium in 1973. So legendary UK football figures from before — Shipwreck Kelly; Ralph Kercheval; Babe Parilli; Bob Gain; Steve Meilinger; Lou Michaels; many others — are outside my ability to evaluate.
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However, I do have a list of my 10 best UK football players of the Commonwealth Stadium era (I'll warn up front: There are a lot of really good football players who are not on this list, starting with 1970s linebacker Jim Kovach, UK's all-time leading tackler).
10. Moe Williams. Claiborne-era tailback stars George Adams and Mark Higgs are hard to pass over, but Williams shone even though he was trapped on horrid Bill Curry-era teams (11-23 in 1993-95). In only three years Williams became the second all-time leading rusher in school history (3,333 yards). His junior year (1995), in which he ran for 1,600 yards, is the best single season ever for a Kentucky running back.
9. Andre Woodson. The three-year starting quarterback (2005-07) became the first UK QB to win a bowl game in 22 years in 2006. The next season, he was the first to defeat Top 10 teams (No. 9 Louisville; No. 1 LSU) in 30 years.
The second-leading passer (9,360 yards) in school history, Woodson holds the Kentucky record for most career touchdown passes (79).
8. Derrick Ramsey. Though he played quarterback, Ramsey was a battering ram of a runner, not a fancy passer. He didn't complete 50 percent of his passes as junior or senior but led the team in rushing each year.
Ramsey had extraordinary leadership qualities and was the epitome of a winner: Kentucky went 19-4 in his final two seasons (1976 and '77) as QB.
7. Craig Yeast. With all due respect to Felix Wilson, Derek Abney and Keenan Burton, Yeast is the best wide receiver to play at Kentucky (1995-98) in the Commonwealth era. He is the school's all-time leader in receptions (208), receiving yards (2,899) and touchdown receptions (28). And remember, his first two years were wasted in Elliot Uzelac's ground-hugging offense.
6. Sonny Collins. Since 1946, only one player has led Kentucky in rushing four straight seasons — Collins (1972-75). Thirty-five years since he finished his UK career, the Madisonville product remains the school's all-time leading rusher (3,835 yards). With his Afro wig and ebullient style of dress, Collins oozed 1970s-style pizzazz.
5. Trevard Lindley. What defensive back Paul Calhoun did for Kentucky's 1984 nine-win team —repeatedly making game-changing plays in crucial situations — Lindley did over and over throughout his first three seasons in Lexington.
Before Lindley, 1970s-era cornerbacks Mike Siganos and Dallas Owens were the best at that position in my UK memory. Lindley has that claim now. It is too bad his UK career (2006-09) ended with an injury-plagued slog of a senior season.
4. Warren Bryant. Dermontti Dawson (1984-87) had the best pro career of any offensive lineman to play for UK in Commonwealth Stadium. But he was something of a late bloomer in college and only started his final two seasons and never made first-team All-SEC.
The best offensive lineman at Kentucky of this era was Bryant, a dominant tackle who made AP first-team All-SEC three straight seasons (1974-76).
3. Randall Cobb. Two facets illuminate Cobb's brilliance. One is versatility. Of his 33 career TDs, 20 are from rushing, 11 receiving and two punt returning. And that doesn't include his five touchdown passes thrown.
The second is an ability to impose his will on close games. No UK offensive player in my memory who is not a conventional quarterback has produced as many clutch plays in big situations as Cobb.
2. Tim Couch. After Bill Curry and Co. squandered Couch's freshman year, the quarterback more than made up for it the next two seasons running Hal Mumme's Air Raid. In his final 23 games at UK, Couch threw for 300 yards or more 21 times. He produced victories over ranked Alabama (1997) and LSU (1998) teams and took the Cats to their first New Year's Day Bowl (the Outback) since 1952.
1. Art Still. Simply put, the most dominant individual player I've ever seen play for Kentucky in Commonwealth. The 6-foot-7 defensive end was so feared, opponents literally stopped running to his side. In Still's final two seasons (1976 and '77), he was the anchor of a defense that held foes to 13 points or less in 16 out of 23 games.