What is a face of the franchise? It's the person you think of when someone talks about your team or school. It's the person with the brightest future. It's the person that, when someone brings up their name, you proudly say, "Yeah, he (or she) went to my school."
So, what do you think of when you someone says Missouri Tigers?
A couple years ago it might have been Chase Daniel. Maybe Kareem Rush if you want to go further back. Norm Stewart? Nah, it's been awhile for that.
One year ago, you could have made a case for Sean Weatherspoon as the face (or at least, mouth) of the franchise, and you can always pencil in Gary Pinkel for Forehead of the Franchise.
I've got one: Blaine Gabbert. Currently, he's the one I'd pick most likely to become a star at the next level of his sport and the one person that first pops into my mind when the conversation topic turns to Mizzou.
Mizzou basketball is starting to come together but Gabbert, possibly a future first-round pick, plays a position that turns you into a star. His size (6'5" and 240 pounds) makes him different -- and a lot more attractive to NFL teams -- than Daniel. Then when you watch him play and realize, "Hey, this kid's not bad," it becomes clear that Gabbert is the one at Mizzou with the brightest future.
Rock M Nation takes a look at Gabbert's biggest competitor as the face of Mizzou:
I'd say that the only person in the MU program close to touching Gabbert at the moment might be basketball coach Mike Anderson. The resurgence of the Missouri basketball program from athletic and community irrelevance since 2008 has turned "CMA" into a bit of an icon in Columbia. The branding of "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" nationally means that, in my personal opinion, Anderson is the biggest challenger to Gabbert's throne as the face of the franchise.
As for Gabbert's future, there's first round picks and then there's quarterbacks as first round picks. Being a quarterback, and a first round pick, the pressure is immense and you're immediately the face of the franchise.
If you're to believe a 2011 SI.com mock draft, Gabbert will be the ninth overall pick in 2011 playing for the Bufalo Bills.