ESPN tabs quarterback Dillon Gabriel as the Sooners’ top ‘instant-impact newcomer’

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach already released his “way-too-early” top 25 rankings for the 2022 college football season where the Sooners checked in at No. 17.

Now, ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren shared which players are the biggest instant-impact newcomers for each of Schlabach’s “way-too-early” top-25 teams.

His pick for Oklahoma was UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel. The 6-foot, 186 pound signal-caller has thrown for 8,037 yards and 70 passing touchdowns during his three years with the Knights.

Gabriel was injured at the end of UCF’s third game of this past season against Louisville. He finished his 2021 season with 814 passing yards, nine passing touchdowns and a 68.6 completion percentage.

In 2020, Gabriel had 32 passing touchdowns against just four interceptions and 3,570 passing yards. With Jeff Lebby as his offensive coordinator in 2019, Gabriel recorded 3,653 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Gabriel will reunite with Lebby at Oklahoma and he arrives in Norman as someone who has been an established starter in college football for the Sooners.

Here’s what VanHaaren had to say about the type of impact Gabriel will have on OU.

The Sooners have had quarterbacks Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams enter the transfer portal, leaving a clear path for Gabriel to start. New offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby coached Gabriel at UCF. Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2019 under Lebby, and now the two have a chance to put together an explosive offense once again. – VanHaaren, ESPN

Assuming Caleb Williams does in fact transfer away from Oklahoma, it essentially means the Sooners will have a different starting quarterback than the previous season for the sixth consecutive year.

Spencer Rattler technically bucked that trend last season, but, by the time…

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