November 6, 2008

A different kind of Gabbert

Parkway West quarterback Tyler Gabbert is sure to catch the attention of big- name college programs throughout the country because of his name alone. Although Gabbert said he wants to live up the family name, he plans on making a name of his own.

"It does not really matter to me because I am my own person," Gabbert said. "Wherever I go, I am going to make a name for myself. It does not bother me at all."

Thus far, the junior has offers from Iowa and Nebraska and has been in contact with a seemingly unending list of other schools.

"I get a lot of mail from schools all around the country, but I talk to Mizzou a lot and schools like Rutgers, and I get a lot of mail from Iowa, Nebraska, California, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Purdue and other colleges around the country," the junior said.

Gabbert said that he has maintained contact with Mizzou throughout the recruiting process by talking with coaches and visiting for games.

"I talk to coach Yost on the phone every once in a while," Gabbert said. "When I go down to the games, I talk to the coaches during pre-game, and I go into the locker room after the game and talk to the coaches as well."

Gabbert's interest in football started at an early age when he would throw the football around with his older brother. By fifth grade, he was playing organized football and eventually was working with a quarterback's coach. All of this training has helped him to become a leader on the field.

"During the season, I felt like I was a leader," he said. "I feel like the offense especially looked up to me during the games. It was good because I know I have the leadership skills as a quarterback to make good decisions to help us win."

Even though they did not qualify for the playoffs, Gabbert and his teammates finished their season with a 7-3 mark. During this period, Gabbert was able to eat up chunks of yardage through the air.

"I had a 55 percent completion percentage," Gabbert said. "I threw for 1850 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions."

When it comes to the recruiting process, Gabbert said he has talked with his brother about handling the situation.

"He (Blaine Gabbert) has helped me a lot, just because of what he went through," he said. "He kind of told me what to look for in a school as far as relationships with coaches, distance from home, depth chart and academics. Just keep your options open and don't lead schools on. You know, be honest with them, and they will be honest with you. Just general guidelines like that."

With so many other quarterbacks being recruited, Gabbert thinks he has a few capabilities that set him above the rest.

"I think I have great arm strength, and I can read the defense well," he said. "I move well in the pocket if there is pressure. I can slide around the pocket and buy some time before throwing the ball."

Being recruited so heavily as a junior has been a great experience because it proves that his hard work has paid off Gabbert said. With all the offers, Gabbert has made sure to not let the pressure to get to him.

"I mean, not really," he said. "I always want to prove myself in the games because of what my brother has done I guess. I kind of want to live up to the name a little. I always have been very competitive, so if there is a challenge, I always want to win. Pressure, I wouldn't say that. But I mean, you want to learn and play good because I am competitive in that aspect."

Currently, Gabbert said that he does not have any leaders and is looking to play out the recruiting game.

"Right now, I am open to the process to see how things go," the quarterback said. "I am sure in the spring I will start to nail down my list and make a decision hopefully by the summer. Right now, it is just kind of interesting to have the schools contacting me."

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