As is the case on the football field, Randall Cobb was everywhere. He mingled with community members, lobbed passes to diving youngsters and smiled every second.
Emblazoned across his chest was a simple message.
“Just a kid from Alcoa.”
That’s what Cobb is, no different than the people who surrounded him Sunday.
Never miss a local story.
The former Alcoa High School and University of Kentucky standout turned Green Bay Packers wide receiver returned to his roots, hosting his fourth annual youth football camp at the Tornadoes’ Goddard Field.
“At this age, it’s all about the kids having fun and enjoying themselves,” said Cobb, who’s entering his sixth season with Green Bay. “We don’t know who’s going to be a pro athlete out there. I was very fortunate to be able to, but it’s not something of the norm.
“The biggest point is just to make sure that we’re teaching them teamwork and the value of communication and cooperation at this young age so they can carry those life skills over.”
Before ever executing a Lambeau Leap in Green Bay or dazzling Big Blue supporters during his collegiate years at Kentucky, Cobb served as an integral piece in helping ignite Alcoa’s run of success.
We reference him every so often when we speak to our kids, and it’s always about doing things right. For him, the kind of leadership (he shows) and the kind of man he’s grown into is just so important to me. I’m just so proud of him for that.
Alcoa (Tenn.) High School football coach Gary Rankin
He was a big part of four consecutive state championships (2004-07), taking snaps at quarterback, running back and wide receiver — as well as on special teams and defense. Cobb spent his final two prep seasons at quarterback and was named a Mr. Football winner his senior year.
“Just being able to be a part of that,” Cobb said, “it’s special.
“I think that was the blueprint and the groundwork that laid the foundation for my football career.”
Now, Cobb’s example is a blueprint in Alcoa. Not necessarily as a football player, but as a person.
“We reference him every so often when we speak to our kids, and it’s always about doing things right,” Alcoa football coach Gary Rankin said. “For him, the kind of leadership (he shows) and the kind of man he’s grown into is just so important to me. I’m just so proud of him for that.
“There are so many people here in this community, so many people at this school who have so much respect for him. Getting to the pros isn’t an everyday thing. You look around at the people from this county, there’s not many. It’s a long, hard road.”
Cobb’s numbers dropped from his breakout 2014 campaign, but he still managed 79 catches for 829 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Packers memorabilia — from jerseys and hats to bumper stickers and license plates — was splattered across Sunday’s camp as Cobb’s hometown community came together for football and fun.
Just a kid from Alcoa giving back.
“We have a lot of kids who come out and just enjoy the day,” Cobb said. “And it seems from what I’ve heard, a lot of kids look forward to this day.”