The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, June 18, 2007
Gaither Status Up in the Air

Jared Gaither, the Terrapin offensive tackle and downright athletic freak, appears to be forgoing his junior season and entering the NFL Supplemental Draft. He was excused from this year's spring practice in order to remedy his academic situation, but unfortunately it appears that he couldn't get the grades to stay eligible for next season, thus the reason he is declaring for the draft. Gaither, from nearby Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, didn't play football until his senior year of high school but demonstrated incredible potential due to his 6'9" 330 pound frame. The fact that the dude can run a 4.75 second forty yard dash alone shouts NFL potential, but many (including myself) felt he needed another year of seasoning before declaring. Anyway looks like that won't be the case according to this tidbit we found on a Cowboys message board:

A source has told us that University of Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither is leaning towards entering the supplemental draft. Comment: This news story has not been reported by the media, but we trust our source. It is no secret to anyone that follows college football closely that Gaither has struggled academically at Maryland. So, at the very least, we have to believe the talented Gaither is seriously thinking about jumping to N.F.L. We thank our source for the potential scope.

Maryland is in rough shape with the offensive live now that they've lost their two starting tackles (Stephon Heyer graduated and was picked up by the Redskins as a free agent).
Jaimie Thomas started at the Champs Bowl last year in lieu of Gaither for unknown reasons, but maybe Fridge was planning ahead in case Gaither wouldn't be back for the 2007 schedule. It's a shame Gaither couldn't get his act together and stick around for at least one more season. This really could've been a breakout year for the guy and would've helped his pro stock tremendously. Anyway, we here at TUL wish him luck with his future endeavors and the contributions he's made during his Maryland tenure. Whichever team lands him in the draft will improve their O-line tenfold. Dude. Is. Huge.

Update - We here at The Upstate Life have recently realized that the situation is still very much up in the air and that nothing has been confirmed as of yet, hence the absurd amount of strikeouts. Again, this is a blog and not the Washington Post. We want to strive towards some sort of accuracy, so this post has basically become a retraction of what was stated earlier. We did, however, come across this nugget which helps shed some light on the situation:

While we are on the subject of the Supplemental draft, we'd like to mention another source of ours, told us he recently talked to University of Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who is considering applying for the Supplemental draft. Per the source, Gaither is now leaning towards staying in school.

While there is no doubt Gaither, who has had some recent academic struggles, is intrigued with the possibility of testing his skills at the next level, he fully realizes that he's only played two years of college football and it might be in his best interest to stay put for at least another season. The source also told us Gaither would likely project as a 3rd or 4th rounder in Supplemental draft, but really believes he's a potential first round prospect down the line.

So there you have it. Essentially, no one knows what the hell is going on. Meanwhile, we'll be praying for his return in a Maryland uniform. Oh, and we'll try to stop using messageboards as resources. Who knew their validity would be so shoddy? [/end sarcasm]

Update #2
- Nevermind, he's officially deemed academically ineligible as of Wednesday evening according to ESPN. Bummer. However, the article does state that Gaither is leaning towards staying in school in order to qualify for the 2008 season. We'll keep you posted on anymore developments.

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