Mizzou's Gabbert commits to go pro
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert has chosen to make himself available for the NFL draft.
Gabbert has started the past two years and is coming off a standout performance in the Insight Bowl, when he was 41 of 57 for 434 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Iowa.
"This is definitely a bittersweet day for me," Gabbert said in a statement Monday. "I was really looking forward to having a chance to do some special things next season with my teammates, but in the end, this is the right decision to make for myself and my family.
"These last three years have been an unbelievable experience for me, and I'll miss being at Mizzou, but I'm definitely looking forward to this next stage of my life."
Various early draft predictions have rated Gabbert as a first-round pick and the second-best at his position behind Andrew Luck of Stanford.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said the time was right for Gabbert to go pro.
"We're very proud of Blaine and how hard he's worked to put himself in position for this opportunity," Pinkel said in a statement. "He's been an outstanding leader for our team.
"It's been a privilege to coach him and have him as part of our program."
Missouri totaled 18 victories over the last two seasons, and this year's 10-win season was only the fourth in school history. Gabbert passed for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Gabbert passed for 6,822 yards, fourth best in school history, in 31 games at Missouri.
Missouri has had three first-round picks in the last two years. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was taken with the 19th pick by the Falcons this year, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin went to the Eagles in 2009 and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood was taken by the Steelers last year.
Freshman James Franklin, Gabbert's backup this season, likely is the frontrunner to replace him next season. Gabbert's younger brother, redshirt freshman Tyler Gabbert, also is on the roster.