Following a standout performance two weeks ago in a victory over Texas, Hawaii’s Dillon Gabriel is set to return from a bye week. On Saturday, Gabriel will lead the 6th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners against his former team.
The senior quarterback from Mililani, will be hosting UCF, the team he committed to straight out of high school. Gabriel played the first three seasons of his college football career in Orlando before transferring to OU ahead of the 2022 season.
Currently, Gabriel holds the second-best odds for the Heisman Trophy according to Caesars sportsbook, ranking seventh in the nation in passing yards. He’s managed to achieve 21 total touchdowns with only two interceptions this season. While there’s still a long journey ahead for Gabriel, this upcoming game serves as a poignant reminder of his football journey.
Reflecting on his early career, Gabriel shared, “When you’re when you’re 18 taking your first snap, a lot is going through your head. But I think just the whole journey, you know, getting to this point, I think I’ve learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about playing the position. There’s football, but then there’s also, you know, being a quarterback, being a leader, a great teammate representing your university or something bigger than yourself.”
Gabriel, recognized as Hawaii’s all-time prep-passing leader, currently ranks 20th in college football history. He’s not far behind UH legends like Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan, who rank 2nd and 10th, respectively. Notably, at 95th on this illustrious list is one of Gabriel’s inspirations, former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who had a legendary college career at Oregon. Nearly a decade after Mariota’s Heisman season, Gabriel aims to inspire future generations just as the Saint Louis graduate did for him.
“I represent more than just myself,” Gabriel says. “I know there’s a kid, you know, in Hawaii that is dreaming to do the same. You know, I was once in their shoes with, you know, want to be like Marcus and just being able to, you know, play college football. I want to be able to be that for those guys, too. I just I want to do it the right way. I want them to know that, you know, it is possible also at the highest level.”
Gabriel and the Sooners will be facing off against UCF on Saturday at 6 am HST, with the game being broadcast on ABC.