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Oklahoma football transfer who will have the biggest impact in the 2024 season

This season is a big one for the Oklahoma Sooners football program. They’re about to embark on their first trip to the SEC after years of dominance in the Big 12. They’re bringing back many players from last year’s 10-2 team, but some key players lost, like quarterback Dillon Gabriel. However, a strong recruiting class and group of transfers should keep the win going in Norman. One transfer, Branson Hickman, could have the biggest impact on Oklahoma football in 2024 among that group.

Improved center play

Branson Hickman was one of the most coveted players in the transfer portal. The former SMU Mustang initially committed to the University of Arkansas after entering the portal, but transferred to Oklahoma. He also considered TCU. There’s a reason why a lot of programs wanted him. He has been one of the best centers in all of college football over the past two seasons.

He has allowed just one sack and two quarterback hits in that time while in Dallas with SMU. While the competition in the American Athletic Conference wasn’t overly fierce, those are still very impressive numbers. Hickman showed up in both the passing and run games, which will be crucial to Oklahoma’s offense.

Hickman was a big reason why SMU’s offense was as great as it was last season. The Mustangs ranked third in American in yards per game with 454.9, which also ranked 16th nationally. They were also 23rd in the nation in passing yards per game and (278.4). A big reason for this was their ability to keep their quarterback upright. SMU surrendered just 16 sacks in 2023. Only fifteen teams in the country gave up fewer.

Now, Hickman isn’t the one throwing, running or catching the ball, but he helps SMU’s skill position players be able to do all of those things. Everything starts up front with the offensive line, and Hickman really elevated the Mustangs’ line last season.

Boomer earlier

It’s great that Hickman can help catapult a team’s offensive line because Oklahoma Football could use someone to do that with their unit. Their offensive line wasn’t as stout as SMU’s last season, but still solid. A year ago they allowed 20 sacks, compared to the 16 the Mustangs gave up.

Their offensive line also made Oklahoma’s offense one of the best units in the country. The Sooners ranked third in the country in yards per game (507) and sixth in passing yards per game (324.8). A big part of that was thanks to veteran quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel, the former UCF Knight, was one of the nation’s best passers a year ago and also used his legs regularly to extend plays.

However, he transferred to the University of Oregon over the winter, meaning Oklahoma Football will have a new quarterback under center. It remains to be seen who that will be, but there will be a competition for that job before the season starts. Jackson Arnold is seen as the favorite to get that job, but will have to earn it.

But even if Arnold plays well, he’s unlikely to match Gabriel’s numbers last season. That just puts an even bigger premium on Oklahoma’s offensive line holding up, especially in a better conference.

That’s where Hickman comes into the picture. He is an experienced center who can help his new quarterback with protection and seeing the field presnap. He will make life easier for Arnold, which in turn will make life easier for Oklahoma’s offense. Hickman was a big addition in the portal who will have a big impact on the team this season.

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