Former swimmer Cobbs develops into college football recruit for VHS

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, December 31, 2016

When it comes to sports, Kenya Cobbs has had a lot of different identities.

He’s been a golfer. A swimmer. A powerlifter. A playground basketball player. It took him until his junior year of high school to try football, and not too surprisingly the 6-foot-4, 320-pounder showed an affinity for it.

Despite having only two years of experience on the gridiron for Vicksburg High, Cobbs developed into a promising offensive line prospect. With signing day a month away, he’s being recruited by most of Mississippi’s junior colleges as well as Jackson State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Southern Arkansas.

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“I think I did better than expected. I just started playing last year, but this was my main year,” said Cobbs, a senior who started at right guard for the Gators the past two seasons. “I knew I had to come out and lay it all on the line. This is all I’ve got. I could’ve done better. I know I’ve got a couple of flaws. But I’m surprised at how I did. I’m pretty happy with it.”

Cobbs’ latest highlight came this weekend, when he played in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl in Hammond, La. The annual showcase game was played Saturday night on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University and featured players from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois and Nevada.

The all-star game and the week of practices leading up to it offered players a chance for exposure to college scouts. Cobbs was using it for that, but also to have some fun.

“Just to go down there and have fun. That’s the main thing, is go down there and do what I like to do,” Cobbs said before leaving for the game. “I’m going to go 100 percent and all, but the main thing is still to do what I like to do.”

Cobbs’ football success story is that of a late bloomer. He played when he was younger, but moved on to other interests over the years. He was a member of Vicksburg High’s swim team when coach Marcus Rogers spotted him in the hall at school and talked him into coming back out for football.

“He saw me in the hallway a few times. Next thing you know he approached me in the hallway and said, ‘Hey Big Man! We sure could use you down here on the field,’” Cobbs said. “I’d been considering it because I used to play football when I was little but I just stopped and started swimming. That was something I liked.”

Cobbs was a swimmer of modest ability, but in football he excelled. By the time the 2015 season started he was starting on the interior of the Gators’ line at right guard.

Rogers called Cobbs a relatively raw prospect, but also a player who has learned quickly and can continue to get better. He helped Vicksburg’s offense average nearly eight yards per play this season.

Cobbs’ combination of raw size, strong work ethic and developing skill could make him a star in the right college program, Rogers said.

“He was another kid that only played two years. Last year he was feeling his way through, learning terminology, learning the fundamentals, and this year he came on and got some pretty good offers,” Rogers said. “He’s one of those kids that’s 6-3, 325 or 330 pounds, they’re not walking around often. So when I saw him walking in the building I said I’ve got to have him. He’s a kid that the sky’s the limit for him. He might be a project on the next level, but he did everything we asked him to do.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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