Blaine Gabbert completes a pass earlier this season. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert, a native of Ballwin, MO. has decided to make himself available for the 2011 NFL Draft. Gabbert made the choice following a season which ended with the 2010 Insight Bowl, when he completed 41-of-57 passes for 434 yards and a touchdown.

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Gabbert won 18 games in his two years as the starting quarterback for Mizzou, (0-2 in bowl games) including 10 wins in 2010, which represented only the fourth 10-win season in 120 years of MU football history. Gabbert threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010, while running for 232 yards and five more scores. In 31 career games at Mizzou, Gabbert threw for 6,822 yards, which is fourth-most in MU annals, while his 40 career touchdown passes ranks as third-best in school history. His career pass efficiency rating of 132.59 is also the second-highest in Mizzou history.

“This is definitely a bittersweet day for me, I was really looking forward to having a chance to do some special things next season with my teammates, but in the end, this is the right decision to make for myself and my family,” said Gabbert. “These last three years have been an unbelievable experience for me, and I’ll miss being at Mizzou, but I’m definitely looking forward to this next stage of my life. I’m so grateful to have been part of such a great program and all of the people who have helped me get to this point, and now I have to take what I’ve learned, and build on that for the next level. I’ll always be a Tiger, and I look forward to watching the guys do big things in the future,” he said.

Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel said that the time is right for Gabbert to move on.

“We’re very proud of Blaine, and how hard he’s worked to put himself in position for this opportunity,” said Pinkel. “He’s been an outstanding leader for our team, it’s been a privilege to coach him and have him as part of our program. Blaine is excited to take on a new set of challenges at the next level, and I’m confident he’ll be a great representative of Mizzou Football going forward,” Pinkel said.