Gabbert Continues Weighing Options

It's been a whirlwind three months for Parkway West (Mo.) junior Blaine Gabbert. Relatively little-known nationally until this year, Gabbert suddenly finds himself hounded by recruiters and media, and showered with praise, like when ESPN.com recently rated him the No. 1 quarterback in the nation. "It's kind of crazy. Coming from Ballwin, Missouri, most people don't know ...


... where that is," said Gabbert, who was then asked to name the most famous person from his hometown of about 30,000.

He struggled to come up with a name for about 15 seconds before he gave up, unable to come up with anyone. In other words, it's safe to say he's got a pretty good shot at soon being the answer to that trivia question, if he isn't already.

"It's been fun. I'm having a great time doing it," said Gabbert, who will likely be in the top echelon of quarterback when Scout.com releases its 2008 rankings this summer. "But I have to really evaluate all of my options and make sure I have the right decision. I don't want to be one of those guys who de-commits four times."

Gabbert is considering four schools – Missouri, Iowa, Alabama and Nebraska. He's visited and has done his homework on all four, and he hears from their respective coaching staffs almost daily. Which is fine, he said, because he wants to be certain he has good chemistry with the men he'll be playing for.

"My relationship with the coach is definitely a factor," he said. "I'm in regular contact with Coach [David] Yost and Coach [Gary] Pinkel."

Gabbert has been to MU on a handful of occasions, including two football games last year, and grew up a Mizzou fan.

"They're the home-state school, so I've followed them throughout the years," he said, noting that he was a huge Brad Smith fan. "I can run and throw, but he was more of a run-first quarterback."

Gabbert, who is 6-foot-5, 230 pounds with a cannon arm and a 4.60-second time in the 40-yard dash – an exceptional time for a quarterback of his size -- passed for 1,523 yards and 20 touchdowns (seven interceptions) and ran for 458 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. He also boasts a 4.1 GPA in the classroom. Parkway West coach Mike Roth has installed a pro-style offense not extremely different from Missouri's in order to capitalize on Gabbert's abilities, though the quarterback isn't focused on such issues.

"I don't think I'm a one-dimensional quarterback who needs to be in a certain kind of system. I see myself thriving in any system," he said.

Gabbert recently had himself a nice respite from the recruiting talk thanks to a weeklong trip to Florida with his high school baseball team. He's batting .459 and playing the outfield, opting not to pitch so as not to risk injury or wear and tear to his prized arm.

He also said he speaks regularly with MU commit Andrew Jones, a highly touted in-state prospect, and De Smet Jesuit receiver Wes Kemp, another prized recruit whom MU would love to land.

"When I talk to Andrew, he's pretty much saying come play at Missouri. Me and Wes just talk about [recruiting in general] and maybe playing together in college," Gabbert said.

There's no ironclad timetable for when he'll make his college commitment, he said. He's continuing to gather information on his schools of choice and determine where he feels most comfortable, and will commit when the feeling of certainty strikes him. Still, it seems a safe bet his recruitment won't drag on past the middle or possibly late summer.

While it has been speculated that Missouri is the favorite -- perhaps even heavy favorite -- to land Gabbert, he's also become enamored with new Alabama coach Nick Saban and quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite. And Iowa seems to have caught his attention as well.

As always, Inside Mizzou will keep you posted…

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