Likely Pre-Season Depth Chart at Quarterback
Blaine Gabbert 6'5"240 Jr.
James Franklin 6'2"220 Fr.
Jimmy Costello 6'3 225 Jr.
Ashton Glaser 6'0"220 RSFr.
Tyler Gabbert 6'0" 190 Fr.
The QB position is the focal point in Missouri's offense, and the Tigers enter 2010 fall camp with an experienced player at this critically important position. Returning starter, junior Blaine Gabbert, enjoyed a considerable measure of success as a sophomore in 2009, despite playing several games with an ankle injury that clearly hampered his abilities. During the spring, Blaine Gabbert looked better physically than I have ever seen him, and he also appeared to be much more in control of Missouri's offense. Everyone agreed that he was doing a better job of reading the defense, and of going through his progressions, taking what the defense allowed.
Freshman James Franklin closed out spring ball by ascending the depth chart to claim the back-up QB position. Franklin impressed everyone with his maturity, work ethic, and considerable ability, as he quickly grasped the reigns of Missouri's offense after arriving on campus in January. Coming in early off of a standout high school career at Lake Dallas, TX, Franklin outperformed expectations, and earned the confidence of his Missouri teammates and coaches.
The general expectation for a high school player coming in early from high school is for them to spend that first spring getting oriented to college life away from home, and becoming acclimated to the football team's system. For a QB to come in and hit the ground running, the way that Franklin has, speaks to his background, and bodes well for his future.
Coach Pinkel has repeatedly stated that the QB competition won't be over until late August. However, I'll be very surprised if the Tigers don't open the season with Blaine Gabbert and James Franklin listed number one and number two respectively, on Missouri's depth chart.
The competition for the back-up QB job, and the continued development of these two young QBs, are a part of what will make this fall camp one to watch.
Junior Jimmy Costello, RSF Ashton Glaser, and freshman Tyler Gabbert will each be a part of the competition for one of those top two spots. During the spring, it appeared to me that Glaser was the most serious contender for one of those top two spots, but Costello, who spent all of 2009 as the number two QB, and although he saw little playing time, held a slight edge in the minds of the coaching staff, probably due to his experience.
Glaser, who arrived early from high school in January of 2009, appears to have made the transition from high school kid to major college athlete. He's not the biggest guy, and doesn't have the strongest arm, but he certainly possesses the ability to get the job done. This upcoming fall camp could be huge for Glaser's college career. Pulling the upset, and grabbing the back-up job, or even establishing himself as the clear number three QB, would likely cement Glaser's place at Missouri for the duration of his college career.
Tyler Gabbert showed some of his ability during the spring, but spent most of the spring working with the third and fourth offensive units, a difficult challenge at best. Overall, Tyler Gabbert looked more like an early arriving high school QB, getting acclimated and trying to learn the system without getting beaten up too badly by his more physically advanced college teammates. Like his older brother, Tyler Gabbert possesses a quick release, and a strong and accurate arm. He needs to continue to improve his overall strength and athleticism, and to gain experience running Missouri's system.
A good part of my focus this fall, where the QB competition is concerned, will be on watching not just the battle for the number two spot, but also whether one of the young guys will be able to establish himself as the clear number three QB.
Analysis: The Missouri Tigers return one of the top starting quarterbacks in the nation in pre-season O'Brien Watch List and Manning Award candidate Blaine Gabbert.
Much like with last season, as Blaine Gabbert goes, so goes the Tigers chances of a winning season and bowl game appearance.
If Gabbert stays healthy and plays up to his ability the chances are great for not only a winning season and bowl game, but that Blaine Gabbert will elevate himself to early NFL draft pick in the eyes of NFL scouts and teams.
This is one of the reasons we are of the opinion that the chances are great that James Franklin not only will not red-shirt, but will in all likelihood see a fair amount of time on the field similar to what Chase Daniel did his freshman year.
Franklin earned the number two spot in spring with a strong showing and is more of a true dual threat at QB. With a strong arm and ever improving passing skills, he also provides the strongest running skills at the position of any Tiger QB, and is the equivalent of a 220lbs running back with the ball in his hands.He simply provides the best chance at moving the ball downfield after Blaine at this time. He may also offer an option in potential "Wildcat" formation situations that will allow the opportunity to throw the ball as well.
The real battle to watch will probably be for number three with Costello, Glaser and true freshman Tyler Gabbert all fighting for time.