Dillon Gabriel has left Oklahoma’s Week 12 contest against the BYU Cougars, and in his place at QB is five-star freshman Jackson Arnold. Who is Arnold, and what led him to become the backup QB for the Sooners in 2023?
Who is Jackson Arnold? Getting to Know Oklahoma’s Five-Star Freshman
The Oklahoma Sooners have long laid claim to some of the top QB recruits in the nation. Lincoln Riley is no longer there to woo such players, but that hasn’t stopped the future SEC program from being a stomping ground for top passing talents.
Jackson Arnold is the next highly-touted recruit in line for Oklahoma, past former standouts who’ve played for the Sooners like Caleb Williams, Spencer Rattler, and Kyler Murray.
Arnold was a five-star recruit in the 2023 cycle. He’s from Denton, Texas, and played high school football at Guyer High School. There, he was a dominant producer, particularly in his final season.
As a senior, Arnold threw for 3,383 yards, 33 touchdowns, and just three interceptions while completing 228 of 331 attempts. He also ran for 855 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging over five yards per carry.
The 6’1″, 205-pound Arnold was a consensus top-five QB recruit in the nation as a result of his production — joining other big names like Arch Manning, Nico Iamaleava, Dante Moore, and Malachi Nelson.
In particular, Arnold was lauded for his dual-threat ability, his arm elasticity as a thrower, and his accuracy and touch at multiple levels. He had offers from schools like Ohio State, LSU, Penn State, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee, but chose to play for the Sooners.
Arnold earned Oklahoma’s backup QB job behind Gabriel as a true freshman, but heading into Week 12, he’d only seen sparse mop-up action as the team’s No. 2 signal caller.
The brunt of Arnold’s action came in a Week 1 blowout of Arkansas State, where Arnold completed all 11 of his passes for 114 yards and a score and also ran for 39 yards and an additional score. He had played in four games previous to the BYU contest and his insertion into the game against BYU officially burned his redshirt season.
MORE: Redshirting 101
With Gabriel currently out, we’ll get a chance to see Arnold in action for the Sooners, against a tough BYU team that’s keeping things competitive.