The best Power 5 football team in the country this year likely will be Central Florida, and the Knights have one of the best quarterbacks you may not know about in Hawaiian Dillon Gabriel. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Gabriel’s Heisman Trophy chances and UCF’s 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Dillon Gabriel Heisman Trophy Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
- Heisman Trophy odds: Gabriel is +3500 longest shot
- Odds to win national title: Central Florida is +17500
No Central Florida player has ever won the Heisman Trophy. But a Hawaiian quarterback has: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2014. Gabriel is also from there. Gabriel attended Mililani High School in Mililani, Hawaii. As a senior in 2018, he was the Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year for the state after passing for 3,754 yards, 38 touchdowns. He finished his career with 9,948 yards passing yards 105 touchdowns.
Gabriel opened last season as the backup quarterback on the Knights to Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush, but Wimbush got hurt in the first game and Gabriel never looked back as he started the final 12 games.
Gabriel led a UCF offense that ranked second nationally in total offense, fifth in scoring and eighth in passing. Gabriel finished throwing for 3,653 yards with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was fourth nationally in passing yards per completion and 13th in passing efficiency and 13th in passing yards
He led the AAC in yards per completion and was second in efficiency while setting UCF freshman record for passing yards. He threw multiple TD passes in 10 games and had at least one in all 13. Gabriel finished with an AAC best in single-game yards per attempt number (17.6 vs. UConn) and best yards per completion figure (25.5 vs. UConn)
The sophomore already ranks high on various UCF single-season charts: He’s fourth for passing yards, third for TD passes, third for yards per completion, third for interception-to-attempt ratio and fifth for passing efficiency.
It’s not even a sure thing that Gabriel starts this year for UCF. McKenzie Milton was fabulous for the Knights in 2017 & ’18 but suffered a major knee/leg injury in the regular-season finale in 2018. It was so serious there were concerns he might lose that leg. He didn’t but missed all of last season. Not clear if he will make it back this year.
“Right now I would say 50-50,” Milton said about his chances of playing this fall, per the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s still up in the air, but I’ve been making big progress. But it’s a long way to go and I’m not sure what my surgeon is going to say when we go up there in June. … I hope that he clears me, but if he doesn’t, it is what it is. It’s been a long hard process and I’ve learned patience through all of this and if I have to wait longer, so be it. If not, whatever he does clear me to do I’ll take that and run with it.”
The loss of Gabriel Davis as the leading wide receiver to the Buffalo Bills will hurt UCF, as will not having breakaway speedster Adrian Killins at running back. The Knights return 71% of their players from 2019, good for 38th in America. That includes eight starters.
UCF went 5-0 in one-score games from 2017 through the 2018 regular season, but it has lost four of five since. They lost at Pitt on a last-second two-point conversion last year, then fell to Cincinnati and Tulsa by a combined six points despite winning the yardage battle by a total of 186. This year, UCF basically faces a three-game schedule: North Carolina in Week 1, at Memphis in mid-October, and Cincinnati in late November. Otherwise, the Knights should roll through the rest of the slate.