Take this for what it's worth but following the Missouri Tigers Insight Bowl loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Tuesday night (actually, Wednesday morning), QB Blaine Gabbert talked as if he were returning to Mizzou next year and not entering the 2011 NFL draft. Via Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune:
Gabbert: We're going to have one helluva team next year. ... People should watch out for us next year.
Matter says you probably shouldn't read too much into his comments and I agree. Whether he's staying or going, comments within a half-hour of your team's loss in a bowl game are emotion-based. Gabbert said last week he hasn't made up his mind yet.
January 15 is the key date for Gabbert because that's the deadline for the NFL's early entry for underclassmen. Gabbert has submitted his name to the draft advisory board and they'll come back and tell him where they can project him playing.
Remember, the draft advisory board is the best "mock draft" for him. The media is often wrong about these sorts of things. For example, last year Todd McShay, who currently has Gabbert ranked as his No. 2 QB, suggested Jake Locker should have come out because he would have been a candidate for the No. 1 pick. The problem? The draft advisory board reportedly had a second round grade on him. So just because me, or Matt Millen, or Todd McShay say he's a first round pick doesn't make it fact.