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Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel Earns Big 12 Newcomer of the Year

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel on Wednesday was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

Gabriel, a transfer from Central Florida, had been tabbed in the preseason as the league's Newcomer of the Year.

Gabriel, a fourth-year junior from Mililani, HI, threw for 2,925 yards with 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season. He completed 63 percent of his passes (216-of-343) in 11 games.

He also ran the football 75 times for 300 yards and five touchdowns.

Gabriel ranks third in the Big 12 in passing yards, second in touchdowns, and first in average passing yards per game. His passer efficiency rating of 154.2 also ranks second in the league behind TCU's Max Duggan (171.3).

Gabriel started his first two seasons at UCF before breaking his collarbone early in 2021. 

A year ago, OU's quarterback picture looked completely different.

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Spencer Rattler left OU for South Carolina soon after Lincoln Riley left for USC, and the Sooners' new coaches were waiting for Caleb Williams to announce his plans.

Gabriel announced last December that he would transfer to UCLA, but then changed his mind and switched to OU on Jan. 3 — the same day Williams entered the transfer portal. Gabriel said he was 30 minutes from boarding a plane to L.A. when Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby called.

After Williams left for USC in early February, Lebby immediately elevated Gabriel to QB1 ahead of incoming freshman Nick Evers and others. After spring practice, the Sooners added transfer QBs Davis Beville and General Booty.

Gabriel got off to a hot start as OU opened 3-0, but then a home loss to Kansas State revealed cracks in the foundation. Gabriel suffered concussion in what became a blowout loss at TCU, then didn't attempt to play as the Sooners were crushed 49-0 by Texas.

Gabriel returned the following week and threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas, but the Sooners lost three of their last four games, including Saturday's 51-48 loss at Texas Tech in the season finale, in which Gabriel threw for 449 yards and a career-high six touchdowns. 

Gabriel is the fifth Oklahoma player to be named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and the first since quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2019. The others were wide receiver Dede Westbrook in 2015, running back Adrian Peterson in 2004 and quarterback Josh Heupel in 1999. 

OU has won 48 individual Big 12 awards, the most in the 27-year history of the league (Kansas State is second with 37).