Posted by Adam Jacobi
No big surprise out of Columbia today, as Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert announced that he'd be joining the NFL draft this year. Gabbert, a junior, didn't have a statistically dominant 2010 season, tallying just 16 touchdowns on the year, and recording only the eighth-best quarterback efficiency rating in the Big 12. Gabbert did look sensational in the Insight Bowl, however, shredding the normally stingy Iowa pass defense for 434 yards and a touchdown (though his game-losing interception was, to say the least, unfortunate).
“This is definitely a bittersweet day for me, 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,” said Gabbert in a statement released by Missouri today. “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. I’m so grateful to have been part of such a great program and all of the people who have helped me get to this point, and now I have to take what I’ve learned, and build on that for the next level."
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel praised his outgoing quarterback, calling Gabbert "an outstanding leader" for the Tigers and praising the hard work Gabbert put in as a two-year starter with Missouri.
And yet, though we don't doubt Pinkel's sincerity for a second as he lauds and encourages Gabbert, we must wonder how ready Missouri is to move on without its star quarterback. As the Columbia Tribune points out, the next-most experienced quarterback on the roster is freshman James Franklin , who completed 11 of 14 passes for 106 yards this year. Past that, it's fellow sophomore-to-be Ashton Glaser (no passing stats) and redshirting freshman Tyler Gabbert. Yes, Tyler and Blaine are brothers. No pressure, kid!