Another possible west coast landing spot for Gabriel is with head coach Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans.
USC is also in search of its next starting quarterback, with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and star junior signal-caller Caleb Williams expected to declare early for the 2024 NFL Draft this offseason.
Riley and the Trojans do have an elite quarterback talent waiting in the wings for his chance to shine in true freshman Malachi Nelson. The former elite five-star recruit arrived on campus at USC last offseason with the expectation that he would challenge for the starting job once Williams declared for the NFL Draft.
USC is also looking at quarterback options in the portal heading into the offseason. Riley already met with the Kansas State transfer Howard in the last week. Gabriel would be another logical portal target for Riley and the Trojans, as he is a dual-threat quarterback who has operated in an up-tempo offense with air-raid concepts before at UCF and Oklahoma.
The obvious disconnect with the idea of Gabriel transferring from Oklahoma to USC is the vehement dislike that the Sooners have for Riley.
USC being on the west coast and the opportunity to compete for a starting job at a big-time Power Five program with familiar offensive concepts are the arguments for Gabriel to land in southern California.
And given the struggles for Riley and the Trojans on the field this fall, falling well short of expectations with a record of 7-5 (5-4 PAC-12), the starting quarterback is a critical decision for the former Oklahoma head coach next season. If a generational talent at quarterback in Williams wasn’t enough to get USC over the hump this fall, Riley surely has his work cut out for him this offseason.