Oklahoma’s quarterback situation considered the best in the Big 12 heading into 2022

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The Oklahoma Sooners quarterback situation looks drastically different than it did a year ago. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be as good or perhaps better in 2022.

Gone are the highly-regarded five-star quarterback signees of the Lincoln Riley era, Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams. Starting for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2022 is Dillon Gabriel, who hopes to have the same impact that previous transfer quarterbacks Josh Heupel, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts did for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Gabriel had a prolific career at UCF, throwing for more than 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns for the Knights before an injury sidelined him after just three games in 2021. Reuniting with Jeff Lebby, who was the offensive coordinator during his freshman year, Gabriel’s expected to be one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the Big 12 in 2022.

Going position-by-position, Bleacher Reports’ David Kenyon breaks down which team in each FBS conference has the best position group. In the Big 12, Kenyon believes the Sooners have the best quarterback situation in the conference.

Perhaps the most interesting debate in the FBS, the Big 12 has a variety of options to consider. Other schools—Texas in particular, with Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card—have greater upside. Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez might’ve found an ideal match for his skill set at Kansas State, and Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State) may finally put it all together in 2022. Dillon Gabriel is the safe choice, yes. He’s easily the most proven, though. Formerly at UCF, the southpaw reunited with former offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby in Norman. Gabriel brings 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns with only 14 interceptions in 913 career attempts to the Big 12. Marvin Mims and Theo Wease, who practically missed all of 2021, should be Gabriel’s key targets. – Kenyon, Bleacher Report

One can understand the intrigue behind Quinn Ewers. A former five-star quarterback himself with a ton of weapons at his disposal with the Texas Longhorns, he could very well be the best quarterback in the conference in 2022. However, questions linger about the Longhorns’ offensive lines, and in his first time out as a starter, will he be able to hit the ground running for a team looking to improve from 5-7 in 2021.

Adrian Martinez comes in with an unwarranted amount of hype. Sure, Chris Kleiman could bring out the best in him, but the former Nebraska quarterback had issues with turnovers last season on a team that went 3-9. He’ll have Deuce Vaughn to get the ball to with the Kansas State Wildcats, but will that be enough for Martinez to raise his game to the level of Ewers or Gabriel?

And then there’s Spencer Sanders, the reigning Big 12 first-team quarterback from 2021, and the preseason first-team All-Conference selection for 2022. Sanders has had an interesting career at Oklahoma State. There are periods where he’s fantastic, like the wins over Oklahoma and Notre Dame. Then there are periods where the turnovers come in droves, like his four-interception game against Baylor in the Big 12 championship game. If the Cowboys get the Spencer Sanders, who performed well against the Sooners and the Fighting Irish week-to-week, Oklahoma State will be difficult to beat. The problem is, Sanders hasn’t shown he can be that guy week-to-week.

Gabriel will be stepping up in competition against the tough defenses of the Big 12, but he’ll also be playing with improved talent as well. The Sooners’ wide receiver corp led by Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, and Drake Stoops have the experience and big-play ability to help make life easier for Gabriel.

The expectations are high for Dillon Gabriel entering the 2022 season. Of course, the expectations are high every year for the Oklahoma Sooners quarterback. Gabriel has the talent and the mentality to rise to those expectations and help lead Oklahoma back to the Big 12 championship in 2022.

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