Ex-UCF QB Dillon Gabriel announces commitment to UCLA

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Dillon Gabriel is headed to the Pac-12.

The former UCF quarterback announced Thursday that he intends to continue his career at UCLA, where he will play for Chip Kelly.

Gabriel, a lefty out of Hawaii, was the starter for the Knights for the past three seasons. He was limited to just three games in 2021 due to a broken collarbone suffered on the final play of UCF’s loss to Louisville back in Week 3. In those three games, Gabriel threw for 818 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 68.6% of his attempts. Gabriel announced his departure on Nov. 27, a day after UCF's regular season finale. 

Before 2021, Gabriel put up huge numbers. As a freshman, he beat out Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush for the starting role and threw for 3,653 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In 10 games in 2020, Gabriel threw for 3,570 yards and 32 TDs with just four interceptions. 

This is a big pickup for the Bruins, who could lose four-year starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson to the NFL draft after the Holiday Bowl against NC State on Dec. 28. Thompson-Robinson could come back next season due to the extra year provided by the NCAA given the season played amid the pandemic, but the addition of Gabriel could clue us in on what Thompson-Robinson is leaning toward. 

Thompson-Robinson said Wednesday that he will make his decision following the bowl game.

UCLA went a combined 10-21 in Kelly’s first three seasons as head coach. This year, the Bruins broke through and are 8-4 entering the bowl game. UCLA’s last bowl victory came back in 2015 when it beat Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl.

UCF, meanwhile, is 8-4 in its first season under Gus Malzahn. The Knights will face Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl on Tuesday. 

Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against East Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against East Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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