The current version of Cocky made his debut at the Homecoming game of 1980. He was portrayed as the son of Big Spur, a large barn yard rooster that had been attending games since 1978 as a mascot of the university. Big Spur had been introduced as a fraternity pledge class project headed by student Chuck Eaton. Eaton served as the mascot from 1978 until 1980 when the role was taken over by USC student John Routh. Big Spur was seen as too large and unwieldy. Therefore, Cocky, Big Spur's "son", was brought in to replace Big Spur. At the introduction of Cocky, he was originally booed off the field by students and fans who thought he was not "dignified enough".
After spending a year as the mascot for the womens teams, he gained general acceptance primarily during the baseball season, and he slowly took over for Big Spur. in 1981 and 1982 Cocky was invited to be the official mascot of the NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. He has been awarded a 'mascot national championship' - the Universal Cheerleading Association mascot championship in 1986 and 1994 and the Capital One mascot championship in 2003. Cocky, portrayed by Blake Edmunds, has picked up another national title in April '09 by winning the 2009 NCA Mascot National Title. Cocky was a member of the Capital One Bowl All-America Mascot Team in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. 
The original Cocky was John Routh, 1980-1982, who later became Billy the Marlin for the Florida Marlins. Charlie Fitzsimmons followed in 1983-1985. Tommy Donavan portrayed Cocky in the early 90's and later became the Carolina Panthers mascot, Sir Purr. Ironically, Routh and Donovan appeared together in 1991 at the Japan Bowl in Tokyo, an all-star football game...Donovan as Cocky, and Routh as The Miami Maniac, the mascot of University of Miami baseball. Jamie Ballentine is perhaps the longest-serving Cocky at four years from 2002-2006, during which he won Capitol One's Mascot Bowl.