February 7, 2008

Gabbert airs it out

Walking from an interview that could have been his second or his ninth, on the way to another that could have been his third or his tenth, Blaine Gabbert looked, briefly--for lack of a better term--worn out. Moments after signing his national letter of intent to play quarterback for Missouri, Gabbert stuffed half a glazed doughnut in his mouth and grabbed a bottle of Gatorade. If he was tired, who could blame him? For the better part of a year, Gabbert has been a part of the biggest frenzy around Missouri recruiting in years--perhaps ever.

"You have to grow up pretty quick," Gabbert says, sitting in front of his umpteenth tape recorder of the day. "It's an adult world. You're 16, 17 at the time and you kind of mature pretty quick."

There was a time for Gabbert that this whole thing was fun. He was one of the nation's best players, its top-rated pro-style quarterback, and everybody wanted him.

"It's an exciting thing when it gets going for maybe a period of five days. He may say shorter, when you look back on it. The process is the process," said Blaine's dad, Chuck Gabbert. "The process is draining. I think if you ask any kid when they're going through the process in all likelihood, something has to give. Is it friendships? Is it grades? You don't want to be treated different, but people treat you different. That's not right. Kids still want to be kids."

But, as Blaine said, he's getting ready to enter an adult world. There's not a lot of room to be a kid in a grown-up world.

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