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Best of the Portal: Sooners Landed the Offseason Prize in Dillon Gabriel

Brent Venables received the best news of the offseason with the commitment of one of the top transfer portal QBs.

Oklahoma received its most important offseason commitment back on Jan. 3 as UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel pledged to play for the Sooners.

Gabriel’s journey to Norman was anything but conventional, though, as he was set to play elsewhere right before classes began. With the uncertainty surrounding to OU program, and the hope that ex-Sooner Caleb Williams would return, Gabriel was headed to UCLA to play for Chip Kelly.

When the stars seemed to begin aligning for the former Golden Knight, and a chance to play for his old offensive coordinator in Jeff Lebby, it didn’t take long for the final decision. Gabriel quickly decided against UCLA and was finally on his way to Norman.

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The Hawaii native threw for 8,037 yards, 70 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions in just over two seasons at UCF. During his freshman season, his lone year with Lebby, he notched an impressive 3,570 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Gabriel will have plenty of firepower on the offense as the Sooners return two top receivers in Marvin Mims and Theo Wease.

Thinking back on Gabriel’s time before Norman, a few of his best games stand out.

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The true freshman was thrust into game action right away during the 2019 season after an injury to starter McKenzie Milton. With just one start under his belt, UCF was set to take on a huge name in Stanford. The lights were not too bright for Gabriel, who threw for 347 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the win. He also completed 73.3 percent of his passes.

During Gabriel’s sophomore campaign, he had two back-to-back stellar performances. In a close loss to Memphis, he threw for a career-high 601 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 49 yards and another score. 

The very next week, Gabriel and the Golden Knights took care of Tulane behind the gunslinger’s 442 yards and five touchdowns. His two week heater equates to 1,023 yards, 11 total touchdowns and zero interceptions.

He was off to another hot start last season before he went down with a collarbone injury. Despite throwing two interceptions, Gabriel led UCF to a huge prime time win over Boise State. 

He threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns, completing 67.6 percent of his passes while also adding 64 yards on the ground, displaying his dual-threat ability.

Gabriel had some monster games in Orlando with awards to show for it, too. During his time at UCF, he was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Year awards while also earning a spot on the second-team All-AAC.

The Sooners have had massive production at the quarterback position for the better part of a decade, giving Gabriel huge shoes to fill. The spotlight has never been too bright for him, though, showing why all Oklahoma fans are ready for September.