The empty spot for QB1 will be a hot commodity in Eugene, Oregon this year. Between Dillon Gabriel, Dante Moore, and a few others, the Ducks have a ton of talent at their disposal.
Currently, all eyes are on Moore and Gabriel, the two players with the most experience at the position.
Gabriel has played five years at the collegiate level, his previous two seasons spent with the Oklahoma Sooners, and has built up quite the resume.
While OU’s season didn’t turn out to be quite the success everyone had imagined, Gabriel made a name for himself as a quarterback. Leading the Sooners to a 10-3 season and a huge victory over the Texas Longhorns, his 2023 performances weren’t something to scoff at.
Beyond the winning record and Red River reckoning, Gabriel was able to collect an impressive stat sheet. He completed 63.1% of his pass attempts for 3660 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Gabriel also likes to use his legs, similar to the previous Duck quarterback, Bo Nix. Gabriel ran for an additional 12 touchdowns last season and nearly 400 yards. For those keeping track, that’s double the rushing touchdowns compared to Nix.
He announced that he would be joining the Ducks back in December and it appears as though he'll be repping the same number as another great Oregon QB, the one and only Marcus Mariota.
On the other hand, Moore has played against some of Oregon’s biggest foes as he spent his freshman year at UCLA. The Ducks are set to play against Boise State and in-state rival, Oregon State, in 2024 both of which Moore faced.
The Ducks will also see Moore’s previous stomping grounds when they play in Pasadena against the Bruins.
Moore entered college as a 5-star prospect and was given a 4-star rating as a transfer player. However, he struggled at UCLA and finished the season with an abysmal 32.7 quarterback rating.
Many, myself included, argue that he did not have the tools or team he needed to perform well for the Bruins as defenses were able to produce 42 sacks and forced 34 quarterback hurries.
Moore can’t blame everything on those who surrounded him though, he threw nine interceptions in his nine appearances this season and was only able to throw for 11 touchdowns.
Alongside that, he struggled to run the ball, running for negative 84 yards and zero rushing touchdowns.
Fact-to-face, Gabriel has the obvious leg up on Moore. Gabriel has played in 50 collegiate games, 41 more than Moore has seen. Gabriel has also racked up 125 total passing touchdowns throughout his career.
Oregon has long loved the RPO-style offensive scheme and Will Stein, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Stein was a finalist for the 2023 Broyles Award for top assistant coach in college football.
Beyond Moore and Gabriel, the Ducks will also have sophomore Brock Thomas and freshman Austin Novostad as options at quarterback. Duck fans need not worry that their team’s nickname, Quarterback University, will go away anytime soon.