Originally posted on the ManSpeak  |  Last updated 1/4/11
Blaine Gabbert has decided to go to the NFL, but what does
that mean for the Missouri Tiger football program?Yesterday, University of Missouri junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert announced his intention to leave school prior to his senior season in order to pursue a chance to play in the NFL and be a first round pick in the upcoming draft. 

This is the best thing to happen to head coach Gary Pinkel's program since they were ranked number one for one short week during the 2007 season. 

Sure, Mizzou will miss Gabbert's talents.  Gabbert threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 63.7% of his pass attempts.  Numbers like these and his NFL ready 6 foot 6 inch frame and rocket throwing arm are the main reason ESPN's Todd McShay has Gabbert ranked as the 2nd best quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft. 

The "Blaine Train" will certainly be missed. 

But Gabbert leaving early as a likely first rounder will make the Missouri Tiger football program better than ever before and may be the final stepping stone to the program becoming among the elite in all of college football. 

Here are the 3 ways that Gabbert leaving early helps the Tigers the most:

1. Recruiting - Mizzou has had first round draft picks in the past in Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but the program hasn't had anybody leave the program early. 
Head coach can not go into top flight recruits living rooms and tell them that he can make them ready for the pros.  That Missouri is a place kids can come, play in a major conference, and prepare themselves for a chance to be a first round draft pick.  Gabbert is proof.

2. Franklin - James Franklin, a true freshman quarterback out of Texas is ready to take the reigns already.  Franklin played sparingly in the Colorado game when Gabbert left with an injury and also saw time during mop-up duty.  He is the real deal. 

Franklin completed 11 of 14 passes and rushed for 23 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns. 

Franklin gives the Tigers a legitimate dual threat both with his arm, which is very accurate, and his ability to run the ball, which will make the Mizzou potent offensive attack even more difficult to stop. 

Franklin resembles former Mizzou quarterback and current New York Jets all-purpose threat Brad Smith. 

Brad Smith helped carry the Mizzou program to its current level.  Franklin will look to carry Mizzou to the top. 

3. Credibility - As the Tigers enter 2011 in the New Big 12, competition will be needed more than ever.  Another star player moving on to the NFL not only will give the program credibility among other teams in the conference, but also with the program's own fan base. 
Mizzou is known as a program that does not travel well to bowl games and with another player moving on to the NFL, it will only enhance the team's image and give people in the state of Missouri pride, which can only lead to a fuller Faurot Field. 
Gabbert to the NFL will help Tiger Country grow which can only help the team on field get better. 

Thanks Blaine for coming to Mizzou and making yourself and the program successful.  Your achievements will be felt in Columbia for years to come.

Related articles
  • Missouri Head Coach Pinkel Wants Gabbert Hit Reviewed By Big 12 (bleacherreport.com)
  • Mizzou's Gary Pinkel wants Big 12 to assess hit on QB Blaine Gabbert (sports.espn.go.com)
  • Gabbert lifts Mizzou to spirited win over Kansas (cbssports.com)
  • Gabbert, Mizzou rebound to beat Kansas State (cbssports.com)

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