It wasn't more than a few hours after he made his intention to transfer public knowledge that multiple media members began reporting that Louisville was the favorite to land the services of former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert. The reason given was that Gabbert had a solid relationship with new Cardinal quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, who had recruited Gabbert when he was the offensive coordinator at Nebraska.
Still, it was hard to believe this reason alone would be enough to convince a once highly sought after signal caller to come to don the red and black. Gabbert had left Missouri because of lack of playing time, after all, and sitting out a season (per NCAA transfer rules) would put him in the same class as Teddy Bridgewater, a blue chip recruit currently in training to be the face of Cardinal football. Then there's also the fact that Will Stein, Louisville's likely starter on Sept. 1, is only a junior.
Trying to beat out James Franklin or searching elsewhere for a better situation would both seem to be better plays than walking into the QB logjam at Louisville, so I wasn't extremely surprised when the official word that Gabbert had committed to U of L never dropped. And then yesterday came and C.L. Brown reported that Gabbert as a Cardinal was "unofficially official."
To say the move is bold is an understatement.
My guess is the Cardinal coaching staff sold Gabbert on the fact that U of L has used three different quarterbacks in each of the past two seasons. Still, Gabbert must be aware of the very real possibility that Bridgewater ends up becoming the star and leader so many people believe he will. If that Cardinal fan's dream does indeed come to fruition, then meaningful snaps are going to be hard to come by from 2012-2014.
Gabbert is extremely talented, there's no question about that, so I don't think any Louisville fan has a complaint about him snagging the scholarship that would have been DaMarcus Smith's. His addition will also afford Mike Samford the chance to move Dominique Brown to a position where his skills can be better utilized. Lack of depth is presently keeping Brown at quarterback, where he'll serve as third string this season.
Finding a respectable program where he could hold down a starting job for the last three years of his college career wouldn't have been particularly difficult for Gabbert, which is what makes this move so brazen. If he knows exactly what he's up against and is still choosing to fight the good fight, then the young man will be a strong addition to the program.