When the Oklahoma Sooners received a commitment from Dillon Gabriel just hours after Caleb Williams entered the transfer portal, the writing was on the wall. The former UCF product will be the Oklahoma Sooners’ next starting quarterback.
Once the Williams transfer decision was made, the Sooners took little time to confirm the reality that Gabriel was indeed their starting player. No fake quarterback competition, Gabriel was a guy.
It was Dime Time.
And it made sense. Gabriel came to the Sooners with a wealth of experience in his pocket, starting 26 games in three seasons; 2020 COVID and 2021 shortened due to injuries. In those 26 games, Gabriel has over 8,000 passing yards and 70 touchdown passes. According to Pro Football Focus, those 70 touchdown passes were the most by an AAC quarterback since 2019. Pretty incredible considering Desmond Ridder was fantastic for Cincinnati.
From 2019 to his final season as a Bearcats starter, Ridder started 37 games. In those 37 games, he threw just 67 touchdowns, or 1.81 per game. Ridder played more games and had 80 more attempts than Gabriel. So while the former Cincinnati quarterback had 15 more rushing touchdowns than the new starting quarterback for the Sooners, it’s fair to wonder how many more passing touchdowns Gabriel would have had in a full 2021 season.
At 2.69 passing touchdowns per game and factoring in the rest of the UCF schedule for 2021, Gabriel has scored at least 26.9 passing touchdowns in his three-year career with the Knights. This will far exceed the 82 touchdowns that Desmond Ridder scored from 2019 to 2021.
While many may see Gabriel as just a backup plan for Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler to leave, Gabriel is a fantastic quarterback in his own right. The last time he was on the same field and on the same page as offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, Gabriel became a rookie All-American, throwing 29 touchdowns with just seven interceptions to help the UCF average 43 points per game in 2019.
Dillon Gabriel has settled in with his new team, and optimism about the Oklahoma Sooners remains sky-high. Gabriel is a big reason the Oklahoma Sooners should be fighting for the Big 12 title and a spot in the college football playoffs in Brent Venables’ first season with the Normans.
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