Former Hawaii prep QB stands by ‘best in Florida’ claim for Knights

  • Associated Press Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel of Hawaii earned offensive player of the week honors from the American Athletic Conference and Walter Camp Football Foundation after his 417-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Knights’ 49-21 romp of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Less than 48 hours after proclaiming his team as the best in Florida, Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel did what any pure passer worth his eye black would do.

He held firm in the proverbial pocket.

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Gabriel, of Mililani, Oahu, stood by his proclamation during a brief session with reporters Monday, two days after his 417-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Knights’ 49-21 romp of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The week before, the Yellow Jackets defeated Florida State, 16-13.

“I said what I said, and I was confident in it,” said Gabriel, whose performance thrust him into early Heisman chatter.

“It’s up for you guys to feel whatever you guys want to feel. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but I still feel we’re the best team in Florida, and that’s all I’ve got to say.”

To this point, only four of the state’s seven Division I-A programs have played a game. Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International are slated to open their seasons this weekend.

Following UCF’s win Saturday, it moved up one spot — to No. 13 — in the latest Associated Press rankings, behind No. 12 Miami (2-0) and the fifth-ranked Gators.

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A left-handed sophomore, Gabriel’s performance earned him offensive player-of-the-week honors from the American Athletic Conference and Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Knight writes for the Tampa Bay Times

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