Let’s take a minute to talk about Trevor Cobb, the pint-sized dynamo who carried the groceries for the Rice Owls in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Cobb never played for a conference champion, never went to a bowl game, and he played on exactly one team with a winning record, but he was a player. Dare we say… a legend.
Cobb came to Rice from Pasa-get-down-a-dena Dobie High School. An undersized 5’9 180 pounder, played as a true freshman, rushing for 545 yards on a 2-8-1 Fred Goldsmith team. The two wins were against a post-death penalty SMU and a 6-3 win at Baylor. Cobb would fumble the opening kickoff in his debut against SMU. Whatever doubt wedged into young Trevor’s mind didn’t stick around long.
Cobb exploded as a sophomore, rushing for 1,325 and 10 TDs as Rice improved to five wins. Cobb’s 1990 season was an indicator of things to come, Cobb carried the ball 283 times, second only to Darren Lewis in the SWC. Cobb became the workhorse.
Then in 1991, Trevor Cobb went to the next level.
Cobb carried the ball 360 times in 1991, leading the SWC and ending up third in the NCAA. Cobb rushed for 1,692 yards for the Owls in 1991. Cobb finished 2nd in the NCAA in rushing yards, 3rd in total yards from scrimmage, and 5th in touchdowns. Those are Heisman numbers, right? Nope, Cobb didn’t even finish in the top 10 in the Heisman voting, because the Heisman hates Texas and smart kids.
Legendary analyst Beano Cook famously said of Cobb, “Great player, wrong school.” The Owls finished 4-7 in spite of Cobb’s efforts. Based on his 1991 season, Cobb was the cover boy on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, better than the Heisman in my opinion.
In 1992 Cobb teamed with Bert Emmanuel and the rest of the Owls to lead Rice to its first winning season since 1964. Think about that for a second. 1964. Cobb rushed for over 1,386 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. Cobb and the Owls finished in a four-way tie for second in the SWC, unheard of heights for the Owls.
Cobb never caught on in the NFL, and things have been rough for Cobb in recent years. Cobb suffered a stroke in 2013, but with the help of former teammates and anonymous friends, Cobb has thrown himself into his recovery.
Cobb finished as the second leading rusher in SWC history, just behind Darrin Lewis, ahead of such greats as Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell. Cobb is the SWC career leader in carries, always a workhorse. He ended his Rice career with 24 games of 100 yards and 19 games of 150 all-purpose yards.
Cobb won the Doak Walker Award in 1991 and was a consensus All-America. He's the only Owl to win three George Martin Awards, the annual award given to the MVP of Rice’s football team and was the SWC male athlete of the year in 1991, the only Owl to achieve that honor.
This fall, the College Football Hall of Fame inducted Cobb into its ranks.