Oklahoma has landed a commitment from UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel, with the massive announcement coming just hours after incumbent starter Caleb Williams entered the transfer portal. Gabriel, a Hawaii native, originally committed to UCLA in mid-December before flipping to the Sooners on Monday.
The move reconnects Gabriel with new OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, who was Gabriel’s position coach and offensive coordinator during Gabriel’s breakout freshman season in 2019. Lebby spent the last two years at Ole Miss before joining Brent Venables’ staff.
Gabriel threw for 8,041 yards, 70 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 26 games for UCF. He suffered a broken collarbone in the final moments of the the Knights’ third game of 2021 — a 42-35 loss to Louisville — but is expected back with no complications for the 2022 season. Gabriel should have two years of eligibility remaining along with an NCAA-granted extra year of eligibility if he chooses to use it.
Flipping Gabriel is a coup for Oklahoma as Venables tries to salvage the 2022 offense. If Williams transfers as expected, Oklahoma could be losing nine starters from the Week 1 depth chart. However, Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns to just seven interceptions in his lone season working with Lebby, all of which rank among his career best marks. Lebby coordinated the nation’s No. 7 offense with 493.2 yards per game at Ole Miss and helped turn QB Matt Corral into CBS Sports’ top quarterback draft prospect.
Gabriel’s decision is some much-needed insurance for the Oklahoma staff if the highly touted Williams ultimately opts to leave the program. Williams kept the door open for a potential return, but a departure would leave Oklahoma without a returning…