COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri now has two quarterbacks with the name Gabbert on the jersey because it refused to accept defeat.
Following his older brother's lead, Tyler Gabbert first committed to Nebraska before changing his mind and opting to stay close to home. Blaine Gabbert's productive year as the sophomore starter was a major influence in Tyler's decision-making process.
"I think it was a matter of Blaine being down here, having the success, Blaine liking it as much as he did," offensive coordinator Dave Yost said. "Tyler, I think, always wanted to come here."
Gabbert was ranked the No. 8 overall prospect in Missouri after a so-so senior season at Parkway West High School in suburban St. Louis. He and fellow quarterback James Franklin of Lake Dallas High in Corinth, Texas, are among four players already enrolled for the spring semester after graduating early.
"When a player's committed, your responsibility to recruit him as if he's not committed is wise," coach Gary Pinkel said Wednesday. "We're still selling them."
Yost said Tyler Gabbert originally opted for Nebraska after Franklin committed to Missouri. Franklin is rated the No. 4 dual threat quarterback by Rivals.com.
"Then there came a point where he said, 'Well, I'll go out there and compete and see what I can do and I think Missouri's the best place for me,"' Yost added.
Gabbert is among four players who switched commitments to Missouri, along with tight end Matt Hoch of Harlan, Iowa; defensive back Daniel Easterly of Cass Tech High in Detroit, Mich.; and defensive back Tristen Holt of Gilmer, Texas, High.
Missouri lost one commitment when defensive back Dexter McDonald of Rockhurst High in Kansas City decided on Kansas last week.
Overall, Pinkel said his 10th recruiting class at Missouri was by far the best.
"In our system, this is a significantly higher level of total recruits than we've had since we've been here," Pinkel said. "I don't know about anybody else's system, but that's the way ours reads, and we're excited about that."
Other recruits already enrolled are defensive back Kenronte Walker of Fayetteville, N.C., who played at Community College of San Francisco, and tight end Eric Waters of Gilmer, Texas, High School.
"I think that it's a great chance for the players to not only start learning the system and become part of the program, but also get used to the rigors of the academic load that will challenge them," Parkway West coach Jeff Duncan said.
The school's top two prospects, according to Rivals.com, are offensive linemen who could make an immediate impact. Nick Demien of Timberland High School in Wentzville, Mo., is 6-6 and 295 pounds, and Mitch Morse of St. Michael's Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas, is 6-6 and 280 pounds.
Demien was rated the top overall prospect in Missouri and as high as the No. 5 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com.
Both players have benefited from advanced training regimens. Pinkel said many Texas high schools have strength and conditioning staffs.
"They're doing stuff that we're doing," Pinkel said. "These kids come in stronger, faster, quicker than they ever have."
Missouri landed nine players from Texas, parlaying success from playing bowl games in that state the last four years. Along with Franklin, Holt was ranked 49th overall in the state, tailback Henry Josey of Angleton High was 51st and tailback Marcus Murphy of DeSoto High was 55th.
The Tigers got the top three in-state recruits according to Rivals.com, with wide receiver Marcus Lucas of Liberty High second and defensive end Kony Ealy of New Madrid High third.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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