Adairsville wide receiver Austin Cobb was robbed of eight games during his senior season because of an ankle injury, and had to watch much of the Tigers’ playoff run to the Class 3A state quarterfinals from the sideline.
The good news for Cobb, however, is that his injury-shortened senior season will not be the last in his football career as he will be playing next year for LaGrange College.
“Not a lot of people get to do it, and it’s an opportunity that I get to do,” Cobb, who will be studying physical therapy in college, said of playing college football.
“He was getting a great deal of playing time. Then he had this happen in practice,” Adairsville head football coach Eric Bishop said of Cobb’s injury. “He got back to dress out for the playoffs, but really wasn’t at 100 percent. So he’s going to get a chance to basically prove himself after an injury. It’ll just be a testament to the work ethic that he has.”
LaGrange plays Division III football out of the USA South Athletic Conference. While he will be playing football for the Panthers, Cobb chose the school for academic reasons.
“Out of the other three colleges that I looked at [Brevard, Shorter and Reinhardt], their physical therapy program was the best,” Cobb said of his college decision. “I’m hoping to graduate in the top of my class for physical therapy and find a job right after college.”
Cobb said LaGrange recruited him after seeing his film and he made a visit to the school after the Murray County game Oct. 9. The Panthers’ pass-to-run ratio was nearly 2-1 last season, so the style of play should lead to plenty of opportunities for receivers like Cobb.
“I do think LaGrange is a great fit for him for a number of reasons. Academically, he’s going to be able to excel there. Playing-wise, if he goes and he takes the same work ethic, the same mental approach, he’s going to be very successful there,” Bishop said of Cobb going to LaGrange. “This would be a great fit even if Austin was not playing football. That’s the biggest piece of advice I can give to a kid. Don’t just go somewhere because of athletics only. If you couldn’t go there and not be a part of athletics, it’s probably not the best fit for you. So I do feel like he’s going to fit in.”
Cobb is going to report early to school and start working out with the team in June.
“He’s going to kind of get his feet wet academically and then work out with the football team,” Bishop said of Cobb reporting early. “It’ll be a great orientation for him for what he’s going to be looking at when he reports in the fall.”
Cobb was a starter this season for the Tigers at wide receiver, playing an important role as a run blocker and as a possession receiver before his injury.
“He was the kind of kid that you felt like he was exceeding his potential as a ninth-grader or a 10th-grader and beginning to move forward. So that was the neat thing about him,” Bishop said of Cobb. “He was that possession-type receiver. You have to be a great blocker on the perimeter. You have to make sure you run great routes. That was the kind of meeting we had prior to the injury, and he had finally gotten to that point in his career, and the carpet got snatched out in front of him.”
Bishop also said Cobb exhibited a strong work ethic during his time at Adairsville, which allowed Cobb to rehab and come back for the state quarterfinal game against Westminster.
“He’s not the biggest kid on the team. He’s not the fastest kid on the team. He’s not the strongest kid on the team, but he’s always really had a great work ethic,” Bishop said. “Anytime a kid’s hard work is rewarded, you’re happy to see that.”
Even though Cobb was sidelined for much of the season, he was a part of the Tigers’ senior class that made the state playoffs each year and reached the state quarterfinals this season for the first time since 2001.
“It was a pretty good thing to be a part of,” Cobb said of Adairsville’s playoff run. “I’ve been playing with our senior class growing up since middle school. So it was pretty cool to do that with all those guys.”