Yeah, I know already. We’re supposed to get over Caleb Williams leaving and just move on. The good news is that the kickoff to the 2022 season is just around the corner and that’ll be the magical elixir that’ll help Sooner Nation do just that.
Dillon Gabriel has the pedigree to lead Oklahoma, and be a first-team all-conference quarterback. That wasn’t was Caleb Williams intended on happening when he notified coaches that he was entering the transfer portal, but that’s where we are as the Sooners moved from one highly touted quarterback to the next.
The media believed in Gabriel enough to tab him as the preseason selection for Newcomer of the Year, but when it came to the First-Team All-Conference selection, that was an honor given to Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders. I get the reason why, I really do. There was so much turnover at the quarterback position, in the Big 12, from 2021 to 2022 that Spencer Sanders is the known commodity. Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia are all starting new quarterbacks this fall. That’s a lot of turnover! As far as the Big 12 media in concerned, Sanders is the elder statesman of the conference quarterbacks. That’s not enough to make him the best quarterback in the conference though. Here’s three reasons why I believe it’ll be Dillon Gabriel as the First-Team All-Conference selection at the end of the season.
1. Dillon Gabriel Is The Most Accomplished Quarterback In The Big 12
That line might cause some people outside of the Sooner Nation to take a second glance and then look up some stats, but it’s true. Gabriel has more passing touchdowns (60) than anyone else in the conference. He’s got the fewest interceptions (14) than any Big 12 quarterback who is three seasons deep into their careers, and has the most passing yards, through his first three seasons, than any quarterback in the conference. Kansas State’s Adrian Martinez edges out Gabriel in total passing yards heading into the season (8,491 to 8,037) but the former Nebraska signal caller has played one season longer than Gabriel and yet has fewer touchdown passes (45 to 60) and more than twice as many interceptions (30 to 14).
2. Eric Gray & Marvin Mims Can Be Elite Weapons
I’m getting a two-for-one here by listing both Mims and Gray but there’s a solid point to be made here. The counter argument to Gabriel being a first-team selection is that he’s never played in a Power Five conference. While that’s an irrefutable fact, the other angle is that he’s never been surrounded by this much talent before. Mims may be the most NFL ready guy that this team has to offer heading into the season. In his first two years as a Sooner he’s already logged 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. When you consider that he was so underused in 2021 that he was actually going to transfer had Lincoln Riley stuck around it makes his numbers all the more impressive. Gray is a dual-threat back who can hit the gap quickly, and has a nice burst, but he also can burn you as a receiver out of the backfield. In his first season with the crimson and cream the Tennessee transfer tallied 641 all-purpose yards at an average of 7.65 yards every time he touched the ball.
3. Jeff Lebby
Dillon Gabriel might be new to Oklahoma but he’s not new to Jebby Lebby. In other words, Gabriel is new to the program but not new to the system that he’ll be running. It’s an uncommon situation for a transfer to be in, where he’s new to the team but knows the coach and his tendencies. That’s certainly an advantage! In 2019 Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards, as a true freshman, and the Knights ranked 5th nationally in total offense. If he can do that will Gabriel as a true freshman just imagine what he can do with him three years later.
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