Not all collegiate football athletes are built the same.
For some, time is the factor that determines whether they can evolve into the type of player that can impact a program.
Then you have players like Dillon Gabriel, who was impactful from the very first game he played as a true freshman. Taking the mantle from the beloved Mackenzie Milton, it did not take long for UCF to see that Gabriel was a different type of breed. This idea was confirmed in his third game as a true freshman, where he overwhelmed Stanford with his accuracy and efficiency. By the end of that game, he had thrown for 347 yards and four touchdowns, with an incredible completion percentage of 73.3.
It was not a coincidence that UCF would end up with one of the top offensive units in college football, one that ranked second nationally in total offense and fifth in scoring. Gabriel himself quickly became a household name within the program, as he set new standards as a passer.
For Gabriel, this offseason has been one of necessary change. Perhaps many were not surprised when he made the decision to enter the transfer portal on November 27, 2021. At first, Gabriel was destined to be a UCLA Bruin as he made his initial commitment to them.
Yet, on December 8th, 2021, former Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby finalized a deal to become Oklahoma's new offensive coordinator. Gabriel knew how important Lebby was to him, as his greatest success came during his true freshman year when he was his offensive coordinator. The idea of rekindling that magic with Lebby was too enticing for Gabriel to pass up, as he made the decision to change his commitment to Oklahoma.
As they say, the show must go on.
Gabriel is now on a much bigger stage than he likely imagined. One of the most prolific passers in the last decade has the chance to build his legacy against greater competition. If one has followed Gabriel throughout his career, he is more than up to the task of delivering in a big way.