Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dillon Gabriel transfers to Oklahoma: Ex-UCF star QB reneges on UCLA commitment, will join Sooners instead


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. 

Gabriel’s decision is a coup for Oklahoma after losing two starting quarterbacks to the transfer portal. Opening-day starter Spencer Rattler previously transferred to South Carolina, while Williams entered the transfer portal on Monday after earning 247Sports True Freshman All-America honors. 

Adding Gabriel is a significant move for Venables’ staff after losing every career pass attempt on the roster. Prior to Gabriel’s arrival, Oklahoma’s only projected quarterbacks for 2022 were Penn State transfer Micah Bowens, who has never thrown a pass, and 2022 recruit Nick Evers. Now, Oklahoma has insurance if Williams chooses to leave the program. 

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