Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is on the board in the 2023 class.
Lebby has found his quarterback in Guyer High School standout Jackson Arnold from Denton, TX.
Arnold, who committed to the Sooners on Monday, is rated a 4-star recruit by both 247 Sports and Rivals.
Standing 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Arnold is classified as a pro-style quarterback by Rivals, but he’s far from a statue in the pocket.
Not only has Arnold shown the ability to extend plays in the pocket with his legs while he keeps his eyes fixed on his wide receivers downfield, he’s a powerful runner once he decides to tuck the ball and pick up yardage on the ground, unafraid to make defenders miss in the open field to pick up extra yards.
In 2021, Arnold led his team to the Texas 6A-DII State Championship game, throwing for 3,921 yards and 34 touchdowns on the year while only throwing five interceptions. Arnold completed 66.5 percent of his passes, showing the ability to drop accurate balls in on his receivers at any spot on the field, including when he attacked defenses vertically.
To pair with his threat through the air, Arnold also picked up 659 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, averaging 3.2 yards per carry on the ground.
Arnold picked the Sooners over Notre Dame, Arkansas, TCU, Ole Miss and others, and he is the third commit in Oklahoma’s 2023 recruiting class. The quarterback is joined by 4-star wide receiver DeAndre Moore from Los Alamitos, CA, and 3-star offensive lineman Joshua Bates from Durango, CO.
Lebby’s pursuit of Arnold represents a stark contrast from Lincoln Riley’s methodology in quarterback recruiting.
The former OU coach was known for hunting the biggest fish on the market, as he gained commitments from the top two quarterbacks in the 2019 class (Spencer Rattler), 2021 class (Caleb Williams) and 2023 class (Malachi Nelson). As a result of his success with the 5-star recruits in odd years, Riley generally didn’t recruit quarterbacks too hard during the off years, occasionally lucking into a reserve like Chandler Morris.
Though OU’s quarterback room was often teeming with elite talent, the depth took a hit, and an unplanned transfer, as in Morris’ case, would lead to a shortage of scholarship quarterbacks, as the Sooners played all year in 2021 with walk-on Ralph Rucker as the third string.
On top of landing transfer Dillon Gabriel, Lebby signed dual-threat quarterback Nick Evers in the 2022 class, and was aggressive in his pursuit of Arnold once he landed the offensive coordinator job in Norman.
Quarterback depth doesn’t appear to be a problem on the horizon for the Sooners, a welcome change as OU turns the page to the Brent Venables era in 2022.