Friday, April 29, 2011

Smith, Gabbert Go In First Round of NFL Draft

Five Tigers Have Gone In First Round In Last Three Years

New York, N.Y. – A pair of University of Missouri football standouts were selected Thursday night in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, as sophomore DE Aldon Smith (Raytown, Mo.) and junior QB Blaine Gabbert (Ballwin, Mo.) were taken seventh and 10th overall, by the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively.  This marks the first time in Mizzou history that two Tigers have gone in th

e top 10 in the same draft.  Prior to 2011, Mizzou had a total of five top-10 draft picks in school history.

Mizzou’s rise to national prominence under Head Coach Gary Pinkel (40 wins in the last four years ranks 10th-most in the nation from 2007-10) corresponds to a much bigger role in the NFL Draft of late.  Gabbert and Smith give Mizzou five first-round draft picks in the last three years – a figure which ranks tied for most in the nation (through pick number 14 of this year’s draft).

Previously, WR Jeremy Maclin (No. 19 to Philadelphia in 2009) became the first Tiger to play under Gary Pinkel to become a first-round pick.  He was joined in that same draft by DL Ziggy Hood (No. 32 to Pittsburgh) to mark the first time since 1977 that two Tigers went in the first round in the same draft.  That feat was followed in 2010 when LB Sean Weatherspoon became the third first-rounder in two years (No. 19 to Atlanta).

“I’m really happy and excited for Blaine and Aldon,” said Pinkel.  “They have both had dreams for a long time to play in the NFL, and they’re great examples of how those goals can be reached through our program at Mizzou.  They’re both going to quality franchises, and it’s really rewarding to continue to see more and more of our guys playing at the next level.  I know they’re going to do great things and be great representatives of our program going forward,” he said.

Nineteen Tigers who played under Pinkel have now been drafted thus far, with the potential for more to hear their name called as the draft continues Friday (rounds 2-3) and Saturday (rounds 4-7).

The recent stretch of five first-rounders in three years is unprecedented in Mizzou history.  The most comparable stretch came from 1977-81, when four Tigers were taken in the first round during that five-year period.  Mizzou also had four first-round picks during an earlier six-year stretch, from 1966-71.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Missouri's Blaine Gabbert prepares for NFL Draft

Former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert laughs with his former teammates during the spring NCAA college football scrimmage game Saturday, April 16, 2011, in Columbia. Mo.

Bev Gabbert is controlling what she can.

For the most part, it’s life as usual. There’s laundry to do. There are granola bars and Gatorade to pack, snacks for her youngest son, 10-year-old Brett Gabbert. And there’s a trip to plan, coordinating flights to New York for five people.

For Bev Gabbert, that’s all it is right now: a trip to New York. The NFL Draft and what looms beyond for her oldest son, Blaine Gabbert, are a lot to think about, and she’s focused on getting to that point.

For the Gabbert family, the past few months have been an adjustment. They’ve been strange, Bev Gabbert said, but time is moving too fast for her to appreciate how special it's been. She’s now accustomed to seeing her son interviewed almost daily on ESPN. She’s not surprised when she hears speculation that he will be one of the first players picked in the NFL Draft. Somehow, it’s all become normal.

“It’s been awesome,” Bev Gabbert said about the experience. “You wish everybody could experience it. We’ve all been very lucky.”

But for Blaine Gabbert, it’s been a lot more than luck. It’s been months spent training with quarterback coach Terry Shea at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix. It’s been support from his family and former teammates. It’s been pro days and the NFL Combine and countless TV appearances.

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Several other former Missouri players will likely be selected in the NFL Draft or will sign as undrafted free agents afterwards. 

Aldon Smith
Smith, a defensive end, is a projected first-round pick. He has worked out for 12 teams, and some likely candidates to select Smith include the Dallas Cowboys (ninth pick overall), Houston Texans (11), Minnesota Vikings (12), St. Louis Rams (14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (16). Smith was one of three Tigers (Blaine Gabbert and Kevin Rutland were the others) invited to the NFL combine in February. Like Gabbert, Smith was one of 25 prospects invited to New York for the draft.

Kevin Rutland
Rutland, a cornerback who was invited to the combine and worked out at Missouri's pro day, is projected to be drafted in a late round or sign as an undrafted free agent.

Tim Barnes
Barnes, a center, has been projected as anywhere from a fourth-round selection to a priority free agent. He has met with teams including the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens.

Andrew Gachkar
Gachkar, a linebacker, has worked out for the Kansas City Chiefs and has been contacted by other teams. He is projected to sign as an undrafted free agent.

Carl Gettis, another cornerback, and Jarrell Harrison, a safety, are also entering their names into the draft, but will most likely have to sign as undrafted free agents.

TV COVERAGE: The draft will be broadcast on NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2. The first round of the draft is set to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, followed by the second and third rounds at 5 p.m. Friday. Rounds four through seven will be held starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Battle for the Black Jerseys

Jacquies Smith on Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List

NEWPORT BEACH, Ca. – The 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, honoring the top collegiate defensive player in the country, was announced today, April 12,  at a luncheon hosted by Ronnie Lott and the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. 

This is the eighth year that the IMPACT Foundation has recognized the student-athletes throughout the nation who have had the biggest IMPACT on their teams both on and off the field.  IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity...

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mizzou becoming an NFL favorite

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, stands nearby as Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, left, prepares to throw for NFL football scouts Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. Gabbert is a likely first-round pick and hopes to be the first quarterback chosen in the April 28 draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

BY JIM THOMAS • jthomas@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8197 | Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 7:00 am |

The Mizzou weight room was so crowded it was hard to move around. As each Tigers draft prospect took his turn at the 225-pound bench press, former teammates shouted encouragement. They shared the space with more than 100 NFL coaches, scouts and personnel executives - all 32 teams were represented.

Several dozen spectators watched from the upstairs balcony - a mix of agents, media people and friends and relatives of participants. The media roster included Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News,SI.com and the Kansas City Star, plus draft analysts Gil Brandt (NFL.com), Mike Mayock (NFL Network) and Todd McShay (ESPN). And, naturally, just about every media outlet in mid-Missouri was there as well.

Not even Cam Newton's Auburn workout attracted this kind of media crush, one scout said.

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