There is a plot of land in Mart, Texas that will house the Mart Recreation Center. It hasn't been selected yet and there isn't a timetable on when it is going to be built, but the plan is already being developed.
The center will house football and baseball fields, basketball courts and maybe even a swimming pool. All those details still need to be worked out, but the plan is in Quan Cosby's mind just waiting to be turned into a reality.
For most of his adult life, Cosby, a junior wide receiver for the Longhorns who also returns punts and kickoffs, has been a star athlete who excelled in every sport he played. He was an All-USA selection and a two-time all-state football player at Mart High School, helping them win the 1999 2A Div. II State Championship. He won individual state championships in the 100- and 200-meters in 2001. In baseball, he hit .479 as a senior and stole 81-of-82 bases during his final two prep seasons before being selected in the sixth round of the 2001 Major League Baseball draft by the Anaheim Angels.
However, Cosby has grown into so much more than what his athletic accomplishments alone can say. He also is a mature team leader for the Texas Longhorns, a dedicated husband and father, a determined student and a pillar of the community. From afar, he makes it all look so easy, gliding through life with the grace and ease he displays in snatching passes on the football field.
But those closest to him know of the obstacles and challenges Cosby has cleared.
Believe it or not, the multi-faceted Cosby was once a single-minded youth with very little direction. In football crazy Mart, he was a young star who found little time for anything but sports, especially school and faith. He figured with his athletic prowess, his future was secure, but he was headed down a path littered with former young sports stars that made poor choices in life.
"It was a rough time for me growing up," explained Cosby. "There wasn't much to do in Mart and a lot of people were making bad decisions. It wasn't because they were bad people, it was just because they didn't have anything else to do."
A lack of structure at home also hurt Cosby. There was no curfew and really no consequences for any of his actions.
"When I was in fifth grade, I was stealing bubble gum from one of the stores," Cosby said. "I have no idea why I was doing it. I didn't even chew that flavor. I never got caught or anything, but deep down, I knew it was wrong. It was dumb."
Cosby had a million questions. He knew that wasn't the path for him, but he couldn't see any other way. He didn't have any guidance. His oldest brother Richard was constantly working so he could bring home food and his mother worked two jobs to try to pay the bills. Still, Cosby was seeking answers to those questions and it would take another four years for him to find them.
As a ninth-grader, Cosby was considered a bit of a bully by those who knew him. He acted up a lot at school, possibly a by-product of his living situation. Things had gotten bad at home. Cosby's mother had re-married and Quan and his new stepfather didn't get along, so Cosby decided it was time for a change. He wanted to move out, even though it would take him away from Richard, his second-oldest brother, Lonnie, and his twin brother, Quincy.
"It wouldn't have been a good thing if I had stayed at home," explained Cosby.
Fortunately for Cosby, he had grown close to Albert and Deborah Satchell, who were the parents of one of his best friends, Lakaiya. He decided to call them and ask if he could stay with them.
"After discussing it with Albert and the girls, we decided to have him come stay with us," explained Deborah. "We made it very clear that if he was going to live under our roof, he would have to live by our rules."
However, according to Deborah, that is exactly what Cosby was looking for. He was seeking out the structure and discipline the Satchells would provide.
He got his first taste of that discipline just a few months later. Cosby was getting a C in algebra heading into Christmas break, which wasn't good enough for the Satchells. He spent the entire break grounded.
From that point forward, the Satchells, who Cosby considers his guardians, would play a huge role in his life.
"I don't know where my life would be if it weren't for the Satchells," said Cosby. "They introduced me to my spiritual life and put such an importance on schoolwork that I went from doing enough just to play sports to making the best grades I could so I would be ready for college."
Cosby's questions were starting to get answered.
The Satchells were heavily involved in the church and put the highest premium on education. Albert is a deacon at Rocky Creek Baptist Church, where Cosby would be baptized and still attends when possible. Deborah spent many years teaching in the Mart school system before taking a job with the Texas Youth Commission to work with troubled teenagers.
Even though Cosby was always a great athlete, the other parts of his life started rounding into shape. So much so, that he started arriving at school at 7:30 a.m. for extra tutoring sessions.
"The rest of the guys would tell me I was dumb for getting up so early," explained Cosby. "I told them I didn't think it was dumb because I knew it was going to help me down the road."
Cosby continued his diligence in the classroom, eventually ending up with a 3.8 GPA when he graduated from Mart.
He also started attending an adult Sunday school class with Albert.
"I had my own troubles in the past and I turned to God to help me through them," said Albert. "I told Quan that even though I was going to treat him as one of my own, I didn't have all the answers for him. When I needed answers, I'd go to God, and I wanted Quan to have that chance, too."
All the discipline, all the emphasis on education and Cosby's introduction to his faith helped prepare him for the biggest decision he would have to make. After starring at Mart in multiple sports for four years, it became apparent Cosby would have to choose between a football scholarship from The University of Texas and a professional baseball career.
"I had always loved baseball and football about the same, but I had the opportunity to play professional baseball, which was a lifetime dream," stated Cosby.
After careful deliberation and the advice of the Satchells and his high school football coach Terry Cron and his wife, Cosby decided to give professional baseball a try. But, he made a promise to both parties that he would start work on his degree while playing baseball, and if he wasn't in the majors by the fifth year, he would head back to school to continue his efforts towards that degree. So, Cosby made sure that getting an education would never be a problem.
"Albert had heard about a deal that included a school plan, where the team I signed with would have to pay for my school on top of everything else," explained Cosby. "In addition, Deborah got all the booklets from Baylor, so if I had a chance to go to school in the offseason, I'd be able to."
Even as Cosby was on the brink of making a professional athlete's salary, the most important thing was his chance for education. He never hired an agent, and with the help of the Satchells, he was able to get the Angels to include an education clause in his contract. Now, even if he goes to graduate school, it will be the Angels that pay for it.
"The Satchells helped me realize that life after sports would be very difficult without a college degree," said Cosby. "It became very important to me, and when I decided to play baseball, I thought it was something I was going to be able to work towards."
Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. With the baseball season extending into semesters, Cosby was unable to earn a college credit over his four years with the Angels.
"I knew that was something that started to bother him," explained Cron. "He thought he was going to be able to work towards a degree while he was playing baseball, but the demands of the game were just too much. He was getting frustrated that he wasn't getting any college credits. I think he felt like his chance for an education was slipping away."
Cosby was becoming a force for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in his fourth year in the system. However, all his feelings were leading him toward going back to school to get his degree and giving football another chance.
His hitting coach in Cedar Rapids could see it too.
"I could tell that his mind was on other things," explained James Rowson, who is now a hitting coach in the New York Yankees minor league system. "We would have discussions about focusing on what he really wanted to do. I told him he needed to follow his heart."
And his heart was telling him that an education and the chance to play football was what he wanted. So, he followed up on the promise he had made to the Satchells and the Crons and started to look for opportunities in college.
"I was probably playing my best over the second half of my last season in baseball, but I wanted to be a man of my word," Cosby said. "I wasn't sure if anyone would want me because I hadn't touched a football in a long time. I was really lucky because coach Brown gave me an opportunity to not only play for one of the best programs in the country, but get a degree from one of the best universities."
Now, Cosby is considered one of the Big 12's best receivers and kick returners and is on his way to a degree in social work. He also was recently married and he and his wife, Stasia, have a 20-month-old daughter, Micah. In addition to being a student-athlete, husband and father, he has become one of the most visible Longhorns in the community as well.
Cosby helped organize an opportunity for clients of The Arc, a non-profit organization that provides services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, to meet and play with members of the Longhorns football team. He routinely visits the Dell Children's Medical Center and he speaks at schools in Austin, Waco and Mart whenever he gets the chance.
He is particularly interested in giving back to his hometown of Mart.
"I try to get back as much as I can," explained Cosby. "I want to show all the kids that, if they focus on the right things and try as hard as they can, they can do the same things I'm doing, if not better."
Cron knows what kind of impact a person like Cosby can have on a community.
"He was the heart and soul of our teams and the perfect football player when he was there," boasted Cron. "But, the fact that he was so well respected by everyone is what made him such a great leader. He is an inspiration to all of the kids growing up there now. He has taken the opportunity and become a positive role model."
It seems to be making an impact. During this past summer, Cosby was in Mart at a little store where people hang out. One of the kids came up to him to tell him that he had a job; that he was trying to do things the right way.
"It was one of the coolest things," thought Cosby. "That is what it's all about."
Cosby is also having an effect on some of the people he went to high school with.
"Some of the guys have hangouts and I'll pass by and give them a honk," Cosby explained. "Before, they would think I was too good to stop. Now, through talking to a lot of them and gaining their respect, someone will say something like that, and the other guys will get on him.
"They realize I'm trying to do good things and they are starting to want those things too. A lot of them are trying to get back into school and trying to provide for their families. They struggle sometimes, but the fact that they are even trying is what's important."
From the state championships to his baseball career and now to his time as a Longhorn, Cosby has gone from a precocious youth to a role model in the community. He wants the people of Mart to know he cares and how much he appreciates what that community has done for him.
Mart helped his dreams become reality. In return, Cosby hopes his dream of building a rec. center for the people of Mart can become a reality too.