IU loses Cobbs to NFL, Mack to Pitt

Indiana’s receiving corps will look a little different next fall.

Redshirt junior Simmie Cobbs announced Thursday that he will forego his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, while Pittsburgh announced freshman Taysir Mack’s intention to join its program as a transfer.

Cobbs’ declaration is no surprise after he earned All-Big Ten first team honors from the conference and the Associated Press. Mack’s move to Pitt is much more surprising.

Although IU will miss both players, it won’t be hurting for talent in its receiving room. The Hoosiers return a pair of injured players in 1,000-yard receiver Nick Westbrook and Donavan Hale, along with promising newcomer Whop Philyor and veteran Luke Timian.

Cobbs finished second in the Big Ten with 72 receptions and was third with 841 receiving yards. He also led Indiana with eight receiving touchdowns.

IU’s offensive player of the year, Cobbs is viewed as a second-round NFL Draft talent by Bleacher Report analyst Matt Miller. WalterFootball.com projects Cobbs as the No. 7 receiver in the class and a player who could come off the board anywhere from the first to third rounds.

“This has been a tough decision for myself, but life is all about decisions,” Cobbs said in a message posted to his Twitter account. “I have decided to pass up on my 5th year at Indiana University to declare for the NFL Draft. Indiana has been my second home and I have made many friends through this amazing process.

“Indiana gave me the chance that no one else gave me and I will forever be grateful for my time there. I will miss my teammates and my brothers, but I know you guys will go attack life and be amazing people! Once a Hoosier always a Hoosier!”

Cobbs accounted for half of the Big Ten’s six double-digit catch games, which tied for third among Power 5 receivers. He was the league’s lone receiver and one of only eight Power 5 receivers with three 10-plus reception games in 2017.

“We would like to thank Simmie Cobbs for all that he has given to the Indiana Hoosiers over the last four years,” IU coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He had a tremendous career here at IU and we wish him nothing but the very best as he pursues his career in the National Football League.”

Mack started eight games and appeared in all 12 for the Hoosiers this past season. He broke out for 111 yards and two touchdowns in an October victory over Charleston Southern before capping his IU run with a career-high seven receptions for a personal-best 132 yards in the season finale against Purdue.

“Taysir brings experience to our wide receiver room,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement announcing Mack’s move. “He has a previous relationship with our offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson, and was recruited to Indiana by our offensive quality control, James Patton.”


  1. To my way of thinking Mack is a bigger loss than Cobb. He and Timian have the best hands and both get separation more than Simmie. Guess I’m not the only 1 thinking the OC doesn’t know how to stretch the field using targeted play calling.

  2. No surprise regarding Cobbs. He deserves to play at the next level.

    As for Mack, what’s that about? Sideways with his position coach? Fear of losing playing time when Westbrook and Hale return? Homesick? It’s a bit strange for a kid that got that much playing time to sit for a year so that he can play for another program.

  3. I think he knows well the game plan of the OC. He’s a pass catching, playmaker I really don’t blame him.

  4. Hate to see Taysir Mack and Simmie Cobb leave, but both seem to realize that their time playing football at Indiana University had come to an end. Congratulation to Simmie Cobb for pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL. Taysir Mack, was probably a little worried, after seeing what happen to Westbrook last year, from starting wide receivers to kick-off squad!! Taysir Mack just realize that he did not fit in Mike Debord offensive game plan (short quick passes).

  5. Mack seems to be about being homesick and losing his two roommates – Cobbs and Lagow. I hate to see Mack leave but it isn’t unusual in today’s world of college football. Despite the nay sayers, DeBord, Hart, and Sheridan were able to pull in very good recruits with the QB and RB being the highest rated at IU in a long time. Mack didn’t see the field the previous year so I doubt he was disappointed with his offensive performance this year. I would guess with Westbrook and Hale coming back he saw his playing time decreasing in 2018.

    1. As if he’ll be less homesick at a school he’s never attended, knows no one and has to set out of FB for a year. That concoction is to thick to drink and to thin to plow. I really don’t know Shawn Watson well as an OC but he will game plan to throw the skin down the field. Mack has the speed to get separation down field for that passing offense.

    2. Mike Hart deserves a lot of credit for getting Ronnie Walker and almost getting Markese Stepp. But Sheridan and DeBord got rejected by quarterback after quarterback. The only reason they got Penix is every other Power 5 school had already signed a qb. Penix got his offer pulled by Tennessee and had to find a home quickly. It came down to IU and FSU. FSU has a 5 star qb incumbent that has 3 more years eligibility. IU was the best option Penix had left. Great get for IU, yes, but great recruiting job by Sheridan and DeBold? Hardly.

  6. I think IU79 meant kick-off return team, not kicked off the team. Anyway, I’d really like to obtain Allen or DeBord’s explanation for the reasons why Mack decided to transfer. You may be exactly right HC, but I have to believe there is more to it than just Mack not liking DeBord’s passing-game strategy. As you know, that passing-game strategy can be modified based on a number of variables, like the O-line getting better and providing better protection, a better running game that prevents defenses from pinning their ears back and blitzing at will, a quarterback who has the mobility and arm-strength to extend plays, or receivers with the speed to stretch the field. As talented and tall as they were, I never thought any of last year’s receivers were fast enough to simply out-run their defenders. Maybe that’s what Westbrook would have provided had he stayed healthy. But neither Mack nor Cobbs was going to simply outrun Big Ten cornerbacks last season.

    1. Trying to make sense of the decision making process of a 20 year old college athlete is a waste of time.

      I’m sure it all made perfect sense to him at the time, though.

  7. You said it, Chet. And whether we’re twenty or four score and seven, we all make decisions we later rue or relish. Mack may have made a really good move, who knows?

  8. with the lost (transfer) of Taysir Mack and Phil Benker you are starting to see a changing of the talent level at the wide receiver positions (downward). Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale are both returning from injury, lots of question marks surrounding how they will return from injury. Whop Philyor and Luke Timian are reliable (very good) receivers, after that you have a big question mark about this receiving group. Once the strength of this team now also has a major question marks. Waiting on Grant Heard to develop are recruit some talented wide receivers player. Came in with this reputation for being a good recruiter and developer of wide receivers talent.

    1. Mack is a loss, Benker did not play much. Next year IU will add red-shirt freshmen and true freshmen to Westbrook and Hale. That is not a down grade at receiver!

  9. BeatPurdue — Redshirt freshman – Jonah Morris (who has not seen the field in two years – should transfer to if he wants to play football, with Grant Heard as receivers coach he will never see the field), who is the true freshman you are so high on (another wide receiver that played basketball and switch to football)?? Lets look at the two wide receivers you mention Hale had 7 rec at 116 yards and Westbrook had 0 rec and 0 yards for the year 2017 (an Grant Heard though so little of him that they had him playing special teams) is this your projected starting wide receivers?? WOW!! your slot receivers Luke had 68 rec at 589 yards, Whop had 33 rec at 335 yards which is fairly good production for your slot receivers. Oh, maybe they will mover Mike Majette or Devonte Williams to wide receivers. I did forget about J-shun Harris hopefully he can return again from injury, that will surely help.

  10. I don’t think Harris will be back due to his graduating this year and his third ACL injury. There will be question about WR but there are players to show what they can do. The offense was hurt because if you look at scholarships by class there was no senior OLs, WR had one with Cobbs, and RBs had none with just one junior. This leaves young players as starters which usually says mistakes in games will hurt more. One player that may be moved back to receiver is Isaac James.

    It will be interesting what the passing game looks like with a sophomore QB or freshman [redshirt or real freshman] starting with new WRs [based on who played in 2017] and new TEs.

  11. vesuvius13 – you just hit on the key about scholarships and planning your teams depth…. that Kevin Wilson last few recruiting classes where so heavy on finding defensive players, that maybe he neglected the offensive recruits or missed out on some offensive recruits. Could the improvement made by the defense the last two years be related to the fact that Kevin Wilson (who admitted he knew very little about the defensive side of the football) recruited better defensive players (more defensive scholarships) with those last recruiting classes. Due to these challenges, losing eight (8) defensive starters, quarterback issues, wide receivers issues and running back issues this IU football team will struggle next year. Notice I did not include the offensive line, because I feel major improvements will happen here after one year under the Mike Debord systems and I think they are better athletics. Saying that, for IU football winning five (5) games next year might be a major accomplishment.

  12. Meanwhile, our rivals to the north just defeated Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl to produce a winning season in their new head coach’s first year there. And if you watched the game, you heard the comments about the graduate transfers he pulled on to this year’s team, the former starting quarterback who is determined to return for his fifth season, etc. An interesting contrast between two in-state Big Ten programs, and I wonder if Fred Glass is paying attention, or if he even cares? Anybody know how Purdue’s 2018 recruiting class compares to IU’s class?

  13. Podunker, on Rivals site IU ranks #35 with Purdue at #42. 247sports has IU at #42 and PU at #50. ESPN has PU at #43 and IU at #50.

    The bigger question is how well the recruits fit what each team wants their team to be. The class rankings are a guess while the top teams pull in the 5 star and 4 star players. The other schools need to find the right players for their schemes which includes IU and PU.

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