After attending Montini for one year, wide receiver Simmie Cobbs registered on Tuesday for his senior year at Oak Park-River Forest.
He is returning to the school where he played football as a freshman and sophomore. He then transferred to Montini, but was restricted by the IHSA from joining the football team. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound receiver did get permission to play basketball for the Broncos.
The IHSA mandates that athletes must sit out one season when transferring from a public school to a non-boundary school without changing address.
Cobbs decided this month to leave Montini when he couldn’t get financial aid. Tuition at the Lombard Catholic school is $10,000 per year, according to Montini’s website.
“I’ve been thinking about (transferring back) because of financial issues,” Cobbs said. “The tuition was getting a little bit too much.”
Cobbs no longer lives with family members and now is waiting to hear if he’s eligible to play for OPRF this fall. According to OPRF coach John Hoerster, Cobbs likely be out of uniform today when the state’s high schools begin preseason practice.
“He will have to wait and get approval from the IHSA. It’s in their court,” Hoerster said. “Now we have to keep our fingers crossed. It’s not set in stone yet. We hope it will work out. He’s a terrific kid.”
Cobbs’s father died when Simmie was 12 years old and he never met his mother.
Simmie Cobbs was raised by his grandmother and guardian, Velta Cobbs. When she relocated from Oak Park to Forest Park 1 1/2 years ago, he transferred to Montini. Cobbs then moved in during the school year with longtime friend Robert Spillane and his parents, Michael and Gretchen Spillane, in their Oak Park home.
“I’ve known Simmie since the sixth grade,” said Robert Spillane, an incoming senior at Fenwick who verbally committed to play football at Western Michigan. “He slept over one night and kind of stayed over.”
The addition of Cobbs would give standout junior quarterback Lloyd Yates an additional weapon for one of last year’s surprise teams in the West Suburban Silver. OPRF returns Jamal Baggett, a Division I prospect at defensive back who also plays receiver and participates on special teams.
Cobbs last played varsity ball his sophomore year, when he suited up for OPRF’s first three games before returning to the sophomore team.
He has drawn interest from Mid-American Conference schools, Iowa State and Purdue.
“I can’t practice yet, but I want to watch (every practice),” Cobbs said. “At least, I’ll be ready when the coaches test me. I hope I can play and get the 10-12 practices (needed) to be able to play the first game.”