Blaine Gabbert Declares for NFL Draft: Where Does He Rank Among Mizzou's QBs?
Blaine Gabbert's career in Columbia is over after two seasons as starting quarterback.
NFL Network's Albert Breer has reported that Gabbert will declare for the 2011 NFL Draft in April.
The highly-touted Gabbert led the Tigers to two bowl appearances and an 18-8 record as a starter. It was a nice encore to the ending of record-setting quarterback Chase Daniel's career.
Gabbert's departure got me thinking that the last three quarterbacks at Mizzou have been highly touted coming out of CoMo: Brad Smith, Daniel and now Gabbert.
I then began to wonder, where exactly does Blaine Gabbert rank among Missouri's best quarterbacks ever?
I hope you all enjoy the list, and I'd like some feedback.
8. Marlon Adler (1982-85)
Marlon Adler and Brad Smith (2002-05) are the only four-year starting quarterbacks in Missouri history.
Adler compiled decent but not great stats, throwing for more than 1,100 yards in all four seasons, including a career-best 1,603 as a sophomore in 1983. He also threw for 32 touchdowns in his career and regrettably threw 44 interceptions, a school record.
As a starter he held a 16-22-3 career mark and led them to the 1983 Holiday Bowl, where they lost to a Steve Young-led BYU team by a score of 21-17.
Adler is now a 47-year-old radiologist in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
7. Kent Kiefer (1988-1990)
Kent Kiefer was the starting quarterback for the Missouri Tigers in 1989 and 1990. He had a decent two seasons, throwing for 2,314 yards in '89 as a junior before adding 2,183 more the following year. However, Missouri was dismal in the two campaigns, compiling a 6-16 record.
He holds the third most passing yards in a single game in Missouri history with 444 against hated Kansas in 1989, a game the Jayhawks won 46-44.
One of the things Kiefer is known for was his role as the opposing quarterback in the "Fifth Down" game of 1990, a contest that saw the Colorado Buffaloes use an extra down to score and win 33-31 as time expired in Columbia. What not many people know is that Kiefer had a heck of a game, going 19-of-34 for 326 yards and three touchdowns in the process.
Kiefer now lives in Colorado Springs with his family and does charity work.
(Writer's note: The photo is not Kent Kiefer; it is in fact of Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson, shown short on the "Fifth Down" play. Therefore the touchdown was illegal and Missouri won the game, which means Kiefer's record should have been 7-15 rather than 6-16.)
6. Phil Bradley (1978-80)
Phil Bradley provided a bright spot for the Missouri Tigers in the otherwise poor 1970s. He led Mizzou to a 23-13 record in three seasons as a starter.
He is fifth all-time on Mizzou's career passing yards list with 5,352, and his best season was in 1978 as a sophomore, when he threw for 1,780 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing nearly 60 percent of the balls he threw.
He had three bowl appearances and won two: the 1978 Liberty Bowl over LSU and the 1979 All-America Bowl over South Carolina. Mizzou returned to the Liberty Bowl in 1980, but Bradley and the crew lost to Purdue by a score of 28 to 25.
After college, Bradley hung up the football cleats and went on to have an eight-year career in MLB, playing for the Orioles, Mariners and White Sox. He was recently named an assistant coach for the Missouri softball team shortly after he turned 51 years old.
5. Jeff Handy (1992-94)
Jeff Handy is an interesting quarterback.
He didn't have great options at quarterback and didn't know how to win, yet he still put up huge (for the time) stats.
He is third in school history with 6,959 yards with 39 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. So the numbers were solid, yet his teams went 9-23-1 with him at the helm.
There has been speculation as to how much better his stats would be if he had the weapons or leadership that Gabbert, Chase Daniel and Brad Smith had. Would they be record-setting? Most likely, but we will never know.
Handy remains in-state even now and at 38 owns his own construction company located in Blue Springs, Missouri.
4. Corby Jones (1996-98)
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Perhaps the second-best running quarterback in Missouri history, Corby Jones proved what one can do if they put their mind to the task.
Going into the 1997 season, Jones and two others battled it out for the starting quarterback position. Jones eventually emerged as the top guy and led Missouri to a 7-5 record, its first winning season (and bowl, which they lost) in 13 years. He passed for 1,658 yards while starting all 12 games, and additionally he ran for 887 more yards.
The following year he led the Tigers to an 8-4 campaign. This time he capped it off with an Insight Bowl victory (34-31 over West Virginia), the team's first in 17 seasons.
In two-plus seasons as the starter for Mizzou, Jones threw for 3,697 yards (eighth in Missouri's history) and ran for 2,533 more (eighth) while compiling a solid 18-12 record. He was an electrifying dual-option quarterback that no one wanted to mess with, running for more than 700 yards in three straight seasons.
Jones went on to play for the Montreal Alouettes for the 1999 season before becoming a sports agent for NFL players like DeDe Dorsey of the Indianapolis Colts. Now he is a Fox Sports analyst who does not shy away from talking about his Missouri Tigers.
3. Blaine Gabbert (2009-2010)
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Blaine Gabbert is just the latest and greatest out of the recent quarterback boom in Missouri's history. Heck, it's been 14 years since they've had a quarterback throw for less than 1,250 yards in a season.
Many were worried he wouldn't follow Chase Daniel's years well, but Gabbert wasted absolutely no time in putting up big numbers while playing in Columbia, putting up consecutive 3,000-yard seasons in his only campaigns as the starter. He is fourth in school history with 6822 yards, only trailing Jeff Handy, Brad Smith and Daniel.
He compiled a 19-7 record while at the Zou but never won a bowl game and frustrated some passionate Mizzou fans.
Many scouts' jaws drop over his arm, and they intently believe it will take him to the next level. The question lurks: How far exactly can he go at the next level?
Gabbert is projected to be a first-round pick in April's draft, and I see teams like the Redskins and the Cardinals wasting no time in picking the 6'5", 235-pound Ballwin, Missouri native.
2. Brad Smith (2002-2005)
When you talk about the most successful running quarterbacks in the history of college football, Brad Smith is the one of the first to pop into the minds of fans.
The record-setting quarterback was the first to throw for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 in an NCAA career before Tim Tebow joined him in 2009. He threw for more than 1,950 yards in four successive seasons while at Mizzou.
In 2003 and 2005 the now 27-year-old Smith led the Tigers to Independence Bowl berths, winning in the latter contest over South Carolina. He is also second in team history in wins for a starter with 25 to go with 23 losses.
Smith began the string of NFL-ready players that Missouri has produced, preceding Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert.
Many believe his skills wouldn't translate well to the National Football League, so Smith converted to wide receiver. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2006 draft in the fourth round. Ever since he began playing in the pros he has become a playmaker as a receiver, running back and kick returner and has even been the quarterback in their version of the Wildcat offense.
1. Chase Daniel (2006-08)
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Hands down the best quarterback to ever don the Missouri black and gold, Chase Daniel partially changed the scope of the Big 12 Conference forever.
For years it was a run-first offense, and guys like Brad Smith validated the statement by supporting a run-first offense. Along with Texas' Colt McCoy, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and others, Daniel renovated what the conference was best known for by tearing up defenses with his passing.
He had mind-boggling stats while playing in the Show Me State, and he showed that he could throw, tossing the pigskin for over 3,500 yards in three straight seasons.
He owns the Missouri single-season (4,335) and career passing yards (12,515) records. He threw for 101 touchdowns and 41 interceptions while attending the university. During his time at Mizzou he was considered one of the few elite quarterbacks in all of college football.
He also holds the Mizzou completions, attempts and rating records. To be honest, he isn't even close with the rest of his competition. As if those comments didn't validate it, he also held a 30-11 record as a starter, six wins better than second-place Brad Smith, who played four years to Daniel's three.
He now plays in the NFL as Drew Brees' backup for the New Orleans Saints and was part of their Super Bowl-winning team of last season.
Can James Franklin Join the List?
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With only two quarterbacks on Missouri's roster at the moment, it seems as though now-freshman James Franklin will be at the helm in 2011, with all apologies to the other QB, Tyler Gabbert, who is oddly enough Blaine's younger brother.
Anyway, coming out of Lake Dallas High School, Franklin was the 11th-ranked prospect of the 2010 class. His strengths are listed on his scouting report as his "arm strength, running mobility and his size."
Sounds a little bit like Gabbert, huh?
Franklin's weaknesses are listed as his "accuracy, consistency and technique." From what I saw in 2010 in limited duty, Franklin will indeed change the offense up a little bit, but his numbers shouldn't be too far off what Gabbert did this season. In addition to that, Franklin can use his legs to run, and his mobility, as listed, should be a big strength.
I honestly think Missouri should have no problem getting a winning season in '11 and that the Tigers need to stick out the tough schedule that lurks next season.
It all depends on Franklin's ability at the quarterback position and whether the pondering Smiths, defensive linemen Jacquies and Aldon, join Gabbert and declare for April's draft.
For now we wait, and we can even wonder if Franklin has the ability to join the Tigers that are on this list.