Oklahoma Football gets a new look this fall. We don’t want to spoil anyone’s preconceived notions, but it will likely make the Sooners a better, more complete team.
Oklahoma has one of the strongest and best brands in college football, and while some outsiders see things in Norman as doom and gloom following Lincoln Riley’s departure, Oklahoma QB lands Dillon Gabriel is direct proof that all is not lost.
Oklahoma has shown resilience no matter what players leave the program. There are several suitors trying to get starting positions. Gabriel, who left UCF and originally committed to UCLA, immediately transferred to the Sooners and reunited with his former offensive coordinator. jeff lebby, if Early novice sensation Caleb Williams enter the transfer portal.
Gabriel is a veteran college quarterback and one of the best in the country. Although he may not be as talented as Spencer Rattler or Williams, the Sooners could be a lot worse off, and Dillon is a proven producer and collegiate-level winner.
During his time at UCF, he threw for 70 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions, including 32 touchdowns, four interceptions in 2020. Gabriel has a stronger arm than his stature would suggest and has improved every college season. In fact, given his experience, he’ll likely offer a better game than Williams was able to offer in fall 2021 when trying to deal with different coverages.
Gabriel can make great plays like the best of them on this Oklahoma offense:
This TD passes Dillon Gabriel 🤭 pic.twitter.com/GT8nVcXpRD
— PFF College (@PFF_College) 09/18/2021
Gabriel put together a solid half of football during the Red-Whites spring game, playing quarterback for both sides. He had a nice throw down Theo Wies and found his rhythm in the middle of the field. His teammates and coaches have raved about his leadership.
Brent Venables had this to say:
“He’s a leader. He is a worker. He is very ambitious. He’s confident, very humble, incredibly confident. You know, great confidence, understands where he needs to improve.” Venables continued, “But guys follow him, you know, the best of the best, make others around them better. And he did that on purpose through relationships and through work.”
The most important step for both Gabriel and Sooner fans is to understand that Gabriel is his own man and QB. Being the starting quarterback at the University of Oklahoma can be overwhelming, and the pressure is intense.
Spencer Rattler can attest to that, as he was actually booed at the Palace on the Prairie in one of the more embarrassing moments for the Sooner sophomore quarterback against West Virginia last year.
The Sooners will also look different on offense. But different doesn’t mean worse. It just means the style is a big change. Oklahoma will run a fast offensive, you will see a lot of number abuse in the RPO game, as well as power inside rushing attacks which are the cornerstones of the shoot and veer offensive. Gabriel has also displayed flashes of NFL-level arm talent, as he did on that massive big-time touchdown in a tiny window against Stanford.
UCF starts with a quick touchdown. Impressive shot by Dillon Gabriel. Good concentration on the catch pic.twitter.com/y8pH2pWayG
— Ian (@NFLFilmStudy) September 14, 2019
Gabriel also has solid athletics and has eight rushing touchdowns in his career. He has demonstrated the ability to escape the pocket and make solid throws on the run, like that memorable play in his collegiate debut.
Campbell grad Titus Mokiao-Atimalala catches Mililani’s Dillon Gabriel touchdown pass in college debut #UCF • @TITUS_ATIMALALA won in 2019 #Cover2 Mariota Award for State Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/DMoWGCpKKI
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) September 3, 2021
At the end of the day, Dillon Gabriel was ranked as the fourth-best QB in the country by certain analysts. He’s clearly a top 10 guy and should be the preseason favorite to make First-Team All Big 12. Gabriel is more than good enough and has plenty of experience to take Oklahoma all the way back to the college football playoffs. Expect this to be a career year for the Sooners’ new signal caller as he’s never had the range of weapons at his disposal before in Oklahoma.