Big 12 media days have come and gone, meaning football season is inching closer to its return.
Arguably the most controversial position in all of sports, a successful quarterback must be able to respond appropriately to praise, hate and perform under pressure.
The expectations for quarterbacks around Norman has grown to a nearly unreachable level, especially after the Sooners boasted back to back Heisman winners with Baker and Kyler. Not to mention Jalen Hurts and Caleb Williams to follow.
Last season was the first time in a long time OU had some serious QB problems. While Dillon Gabriel was solid for most of the season, he had a few rough outings and a serious head injury which created problems for him.
As Gabriel returns to the Sooners in 2023, he is slated to once again to be the starter. This does not come without a newly found pressure hanging around him. While being QB #1 at OU is hard enough, Gabriel’s newest competition in the QB room is none other than five-star freshman Jackson Arnold.
Arnold is an unreal talent. One of the most hyped recruits for the Sooners in recent memory, Arnold will provide fierce competition for Gabriel.
Jeff Lebby has made it clear during the offseason that this is Dillon Gabriel’s team. The Sooners sought out the former UCF gun slinger before last season in the transfer portal. Originally committed to UCLA, Gabriel flipped back to OU for a chance to reunite with his former offensive coordinator.
Though it’s Gabriel’s job to lose, Arnold has shown signs he may be able to start right away. He showed tremendous flashes in the spring game, including a 53-yard scamper to the endzone.
Arnold’s off the chart talent is undeniable, but the feeling around the program remains that Dillon Gabriel has a great year of football ahead of him. Gabriel finished last season with just over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. While six interceptions is not that bad on paper, Gabriel had issues with throwing untimely picks to go along with too many overthrows.
With a replenished skill room, as well as multiple receivers Gabriel threw to last season, there is serious reason to believe DG can right the ship this upcoming season and lead OU back to Big 12 title contention. The added pressure of having a QB of Jackson Arnold’s caliber waiting behind him should prove as great motivation.
Back for another season with OU is Davis Beville, who transferred in from Pitt last season. Beville will unfortunately be remembered for being Dillon Gabriel’s replacement in the Red River Shootout last season, which ended in a 49-0 defeat.
Beville will be a plus to the team this year, as he likely will only see the field in blowouts, while also providing great leadership. He was current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett’s backup before his time at OU.
Filling out the room will be none other than the man with the best name in college football, General Booty. One of the more popular candidates to potentially transfer during this offseason, Booty decided to stick it out with OU and continue to learn under the great QB’s ahead of him.
Booty still has some solid potential in him, being a former 4-star and a heavily recruited high schooler. Expect this to be his last season with the Sooners since he will seek a starting job eventually.
Although the OU QB room is much deeper than a season ago, Dillon Gabriel will still be given every chance to become the player that takes “team #129” to the next level. He will also be asked to mentor a player like Jackson Arnold, as he will be the man to lead OU into its new future of SEC football.
Our own Dylan Buckingham had the pleasure of sitting down with DG during Big 12 media days. The entire interview can be accessed here.
Remember that 107.7 The Franchise is the flagship station for all Sooner Sports.