Gabbert Plans to Enter 2011 NFL Draft
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert of Ballwin is enrolling in the draft for the upcoming NFL season, rather than play in his senior season at Missouri.
Sometimes people have to decide how and when to grow up, whether it is through school, a career or a personal passion. For Blaine Gabbert of Ballwin, the University of Missouri quarterback who's banking on playing in the NFL next fall, the decision he made on Monday will impact all the above.
The Tigers' star quarterback announced he plans to waive his eligibility to play his senior season on the football fields of the Big 12 in favor of entering the 2011 NFL Draft. Multiple news groups broke the news Monday, when the school released a statement from Gabbert saying his decision felt bittersweet.
"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," Gabbert said in a written statement. "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. I'll always be a Tiger, and I look forward to watching the guys do big things in the future," Gabbert said.
Gabbert, who formerly played at Parkway West High School, leaves Mizzou with 18 career wins from two seasons as the starting quarterback. In the 2010 season, he threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also ran for 232 yards this season for five more TDs.
In the same statement, head coach Gary Pinkel praised Gabbert's composure on the field and said he's confident those skills will translate into a competitive pro career.
"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," Pinkel said. "Blaine is excited to take on a new set of challenges at the next level, and I'm confident he'll be a great representative of Mizzou football going forward."
Pinkel, too, is no stranger to Missouri talent going pro; in the last two NFL drafts alone, Pinkett has watched three former players, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (#19 overall to Atlanta in 2010), wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (#19 to Philadelphia in 2009) and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood (#32 to Pittsburgh in 2009) enter the NFL, according to the university.
Blaine Gabbert's 31-game Mizzou football career at glance:
Statistics courtesy of the official University of Missouri athletics website.