March 31, 2009

Gabbert collects offer from Colorado State

If you don't believe Ballwin (MO) quarterback Tyler Gabbert is a competitive guy, just ask the shark he reeled in two years ago. Gabbert is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound signalcaller from just outside of St. Louis who holds six scholarship offers as well as the title of "shark hunter."

"I am competitive and I like to fish," Gabbert said. "The biggest fish I caught was a 250-pound shark off the Florida Keys. It took about 45 minutes to land him."

College coaches around the country have tagged Gabbert as the big fish they want in their boat this recruiting season. The Missouri right hander claims offers from Colorado State, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana and Kansas after completing 55 percent of his passes for 1,850 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions a year ago. In addition to the schools who have already offered him a spot on their football teams, Oregon, Clemson, Wake Forest and Stanford are just some of the names in contact with Gabbert on a regular basis.

Gabbert said the attraction for college coaches has to do with his demeanor on the field.

"I think on the field I am a good leader," Gabbert said. "I can make all the throws and my pocket awareness helps me to make plays. I am not necessarily running forward all the time, but I can run within the pocket and buy time to extend the play and I'll do whatever I can to make the team better."

Recently joining the battle for Gabbert is Colorado State, which offered the St. Louis signalcaller last month. Gabbert said he recognized Rams head coach Steve Fairchild as the former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator. Gabbert said he isn't settled on playing in a conference, but is interested in finding an offensive system that he feels fits him.

"I had not talked to them (Colorado State) much until my coach said I got some mail from CSU and it was an offer letter from Coach Fairchild," Gabbert said. "I know they had an impressive bowl win last season and they are a program on the rise this past season. It is definitely intriguing. I know the name (Fairchild) from his time with the (St. Louis) Rams."

Tyler's brother, Blaine, is in the mix to replace Chase Daniel at the helm of the Missouri spread offense this spring. It is Blaine's presence in Columbia as well as the proximity to Ballwin that has Gabbert interested in the Tigers.

"I like the facilities, the coaching staff and the whole town," Gabbert said. "I have a comfort level there with my brother being there. I like everything about the program and I think it fits a player like me, who might not be the tallest quarterback. I look at what Chase Daniel has done the last couple years and I could see myself in an offense like that."

The Iowa Hawkeyes and Kansas Jayhawks are also interested in the young quarterback and Gabbert said he has checked out both programs. Gabbert said he has a good relationship with Coaches Eric Johnson, Ken O'Keefe and Kirk Ferentz in Iowa City.

"They were my first offer," Gabbert said. "I like everything about the program. I hear from people all around the country what good guys they are and what kind of respect everyone has for the program and I definitely saw that for myself when I visited there."

Gabbert added he was impressed with the facilities and the coaches at Kansas, as well as the proximity to home. After seeing Todd Reesing enjoy success as a shorter quarterback in the KU system, Gabbert is looking into the Jayhawks as well.

Gabbert said he was recently at Nebraska and was impressed by the coaches he met - Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, head coach Bo Pelini and former coach Tom Osborne - with as well as the atmosphere of Lincoln.

"It was a lot of fun," Gabbert said. "I met with every aspect of the football program from the coaches to the academic advisors. Everything about the visit was good."

Gabbert has a list of qualities he is looking for in a college and it all starts with the system.

"I want an offense that fits my style of play no matter where it is," Gabbert said. "I guess any conference is suitable for me. I also have to have a certain comfort level with the coaching staff. You want stability there to know that you aren't going to lose a coach while you are at a school. In terms of a location to home, it isn't necessarily geographic area to home, but accessibility for my parents in being able to watch me play. If it is an airplane ride and a long drive, then it probably won't work."

Gabbert added that he hopes to take his visits through the spring and then make a decision this summer.

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