Randall Cobb has yet to decide whether he'll enter the NFL Draft or return to the University of Kentucky for his senior season, but if Wildcats fans have seen the last of the talented junior wide receiver at least they'll know they witnessed something rare.
Cobb's unique abilities were recognized Tuesday with one of college football's highest honors when the Alcoa, Tenn., native was named a first-team All-American by The Associated Press.
Cobb filled the all-purpose position on a 25-member All-America first team led by Heisman Trophy-winning junior quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn.
Cobb became the 11th Wildcat to be named to the AP's first team and the first since kick returner Derek Abney in 2002.
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The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Cobb beat out second-team all-purpose selection Damaris Johnson of Tulsa and third-team choice Denard Robinson of Michigan for the honor.
Other skill-position players named to the first team along with Cobb and Newton were running backs LaMichael James of Oregon and Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State, wide receivers Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State and Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma, and tight end Michael Egnew of Missouri.
Cobb led Southeastern Conference receivers with 79 catches for 955 yards and seven touchdowns this season. At quarterback in the Wildcat formation, Cobb rushed for 401 yards and five touchdowns and threw for three more scores. He also returned a punt for a TD, threw and ran for two-point conversions and set Kentucky's career record for touchdowns.
Cobb was named to the All-SEC first team as all-purpose player and was the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision to rank first or second on his team in rushing, receiving and passing. Cobb led the SEC and ranked second in the nation in all-purpose yards with averages of 182.7 yards a game and 11.9 yards per play.
Auburn was one of five teams with two players on the AP first team. Newton was joined by junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
Newton, in his first season with the Tigers after transferring from junior college, became the first quarterback in SEC history to reach 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. He also accounted for 49 touchdowns (28 passing, 20 rushing and one receiving).
"We knew and understood he was talented, but we didn't realize he could do things on his own that a defense just can't account for," Auburn Coach Gene Chizik said.
"There were times we knew we'd called a bad play and 50 yards later Cam would have made it look good."
Newton was practically unstoppable and Fairley was nearly unblockable.
The 295-pound junior led Auburn with 10½ sacks and 21 tackles for loss, blossoming into one of the best defensive tackles in the country after starting just two games in 2009.
Chizik said it took Fairley, another junior-college transfer, a season to adjust to playing in the SEC.
"He's come a million miles from where he was last year," he said.
Auburn also had tackle Lee Ziemba voted to second team and center Ryan Pugh on the third team.
No. 1-ranked Auburn will play No. 2 Oregon in the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.
Joining Auburn with two choices on the first team were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. All but Oklahoma State will play in a BCS bowl game.
Oregon was represented on the three AP All-America teams by James, who led the nation in rushing at 153 yards per game and finished third in the Heisman voting, and cornerback Cliff Harris, a second-team selection.
Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford was the second-team quarterback, finishing behind Newton again. Kellen Moore of Boise State, the other Heisman finalist, was the third-team quarterback for the second straight year.
Cobb received additional recognition Tuesday when he was named a first-team All-American by SportsIllustrated.com, again at the all-purpose position.
Cobb's UK teammate, linebacker Danny Trevathan, received honorable mention from SI.com.
Trevathan, a 6-1, 223-pound junior from Leesburg, Fla., led the Southeastern Conference in tackles with 130 and had eight consecutive games with double-figure tackles. He ranked third in the league in tackles for loss with 16.
University of Kentucky football players to be named Associated Press first-team All-Americans:
2010 Randall Cobb All-purpose
2002 Derek Abney Kick returner
1999 James Whalen Tight end
1977 Art Still Defensive end
1957 Lou Michaels Tackle
1955 Howard Schnellenberger End
1952 Steve Meilinger End
1951 Doug Moseley Center
1950 Babe Parilli Quarterback
1950 Bob Gain Tackle
1942 Clyde Johnson Tackle