The hiring of Jeff Lebby helped provide continuity on the offensive side of the football for the Oklahoma Sooners. While the system changed, the ability to score points remained despite the change in play caller.
The new offensive coordinator was a familiar face in Norman. Keeping his offensive assistants intact allowed them to continue to build upon what they had done under Lincoln Riley.
Though the offense had its issues on third down and in the red zone, the Sooners averaged 35 points per game in 2022. Lebby's relationship with Dillon Gabriel provided an experienced quarterback to lead his offense after Caleb Williams followed Riley to USC.
And as important as that was, it was the work he did early in the 2023 recruiting cycle that rebuilt the foundation for the Oklahoma Sooners on the offensive side of the ball.
As On3 looks back on the 2023 recruiting class, Jeff Lebby was included among assistants who made immediate recruiting impacts in their new locales on the 2023 cycle.
Lebby's relationship with Jackson Arnold dated back to his time as the offensive coordinator with Ole Miss. It didn't take Arnold long to commit to Oklahoma once Lebby and Brent Venables made their pitch. As the first commit for Venables in the 2023 class, Arnold provided a ton of stability to a class that almost completely evaporated. Center Joshua Bates was the lone holdover from the Lincoln Riley era.
Oklahoma's offensive coordinator got a player in Jackson Arnold that was on the rise. Arnold had a tremendous 2022 that saw him win Gatorade National Player of the Year, Elite 11 MVP, and earn consensus five-star status from the recruiting industry. While all of that's great, it was his unwavering commitment to the program that was critical for the Sooners.
That commitment provided the stability for the rest of the class. Even as players like Anthony Evans and Colton Vasek flipped, the rest of the group stayed together. That's in no small part to Jackson Arnold hanging with Oklahoma despite a 6-7 season.
Jeff Lebby's offense will be a big reason why the Oklahoma Sooners return to contention in the Big 12 in 2023. And equally important, his prowess on offense and on the recruiting trail is a big reason why they'll remain contenders beyond this year.
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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire