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Just yesterday, here at the Sooners Wire we took a look at Pro Football Focus’ list of transfer quarterback rankings and how they’ve graded them thus far into the 2022 transfer portal cycle. They had glowing things to say about South Carolina’s addition of Spencer Rattler, who was the highest-rated quarterback in the portal at the time.
Now just a day and a half later, Caleb Williams has entered the transfer portal and the Oklahoma Sooners received a commitment from former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel, who suffered an injury to the clavicle in his throwing shoulder and missed most of the season, looked like he was heading to UCLA in the transfer portal, but with Williams in the portal and potentially on the move, the Sooners needed an insurance policy.
Just like we did with Rattler yesterday, let’s take a look at what Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus had to say about Dillon Gabriel. Treash considered Gabriel a significant upgrade compared to UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. It’s likely the PFF analyst wouldn’t feel the same about going from Williams to Gabriel, but he doesn’t have to be an upgrade to be a successful quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Gabriel thrived as an underclassman with Josh Heupel as the head coach prior to missing most of 2021 due to injury. Heupel is widely known for his quarterback-friendly offense that provides simplistic reads for the passer. While the concepts are painless for the quarterback, the offense still needs the signal-caller to have the arm to consistently take one-on-one vertical shots down the sideline when the defense is in single-high. Gabriel has fantastic touch downfield, and that trait led to major passing success. He earned 80.3 and 90.4 passing grades as a true freshman and sophomore in 2019 and 2020. – Anthony Treash, Pro Football Focus
Gabriel has 26 starts under his belt and is very familiar with new Oklahoma Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby from their time together at UCF. He averaged more than 300 yards passing in his 26 starts and helped UCF to an 18-8 record over two-plus seasons.
If Williams does indeed find a new home, Gabriel would be the odds on favorite to start at quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2022. He’d get some competition from 2022 four-star quarterback Nick Evers out of Flower Mound, but Gabriel’s familiarity with Lebby and the offense will give him a leg up in the competition.