Dillon Gabriel, you are an Oregon Duck.
The Oregon QB room looked shake on Saturday morning. Bo Nix will be starting his NFL journey after coming in 3rd place in Heisman voting and hopefully winning the Ducks a Fiesta Bowl. Other than that, Oregon didn’t have any players on the roster with a start logged after high school.
But on December 9th, 2023, Oregon got a commitment from Gabriel, a former Oklahoma and UCF QB with 49 career starts in college. He isn’t some lower-tier starter either, Gabriel was a serious Heisman trophy contender until the Sooners fell out of playoff consideration this season.
Now that the QB position is solid, Oregon has little to want for heading into the 2024 season. The offense is covered in weapons from top to bottom, the defense is expected to have playmakers all over the field, and if the kicking game can figure their stuff out, the Ducks only glaring need is a second starting-caliber cornerback.
With the move to the Big 10, and Oregon losing Nix, it was fair to expect a short-term reduction in team success, but with the addition of an All-American caliber player at QB, the Ducks should be expected to finish near the top of the conference.
Heading in to the new conference means that Oregon will need to maintain strong play from their signal caller, and Gabriel brings experience, along with dynamic play as both a runner and thrower to Eugene. He will also be their first left-handed thrower to start a game since Jeremiah Masoli, who had many of the traits that have made Gabriel successful in college, but with better accuracy and a more consistent deep ball.
Gabriel is expected to win the starting job without much resistance, and should lead an Oregon offense at the top of the Big 10 next year. Finding a dynamic player to lead the offense was most likely the top priority for the coaching staff heading into the offseason, and they got their guy early on. Luring talent interested in playing with Gabriel should be significantly easier now, with the commitment made.
Unfortunately, the move by to sign Gabriel means that Ty Thompson finally had enough time on the bench and entered his name into the transfer portal. The backup QB has shown flashed of solid play mixed with some less-than-stellar throws over his three years in Eugene. He earned the respect of the fanbase after staying with the team after losing the starting spot to Nix entering the 2022 season, and improving throughout the year this year. Thompson should expect to receive some G5 interest, where he can take over as a signal caller with a lot of playtime, but no starts.
Ducks fans are expecting fireworks again next year, as they hope to see the team back in the new, expanded playoff, and Gabriel should be a good enough QB to get them where they want to go.
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Top Photo By Craig Strobeck
Ryan Robertson is a defense contractor for the United States Marine Corps. A lifelong Duck fan from Grants Pass, he joined the Army out of high school. After four years as an Intelligence Analyst he decided it was time to further his education and pay more attention to his Ducks. One of Ryan’s first memories is of watching the Ducks, led by Joey Harrington, beating up on the Utah Utes in 2001. His grandfather ran track at Oregon in the ‘50s. He loves the Ducks, and has a passionate interest in reading every scrap of analysis centered around the football team.
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