Oklahoma OC Jeff Lebby Finalizes Agreement With Mississippi State.

Mississippi State has announced the hiring of Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, creating a significant challenge for Oklahoma’s head coach Brent Venables.

Venables now faces the task of finding a capable new play-caller. Given Oklahoma’s history of high-scoring and dynamic offenses, this hire is crucial as the team transitions to the Southeastern Conference. Additionally, Venables must act swiftly to retain the quarterbacks Lebby recruited, starting with Jackson Arnold, the projected 2024 starter, and including 2024 prospects Michael Hawkins and Brendan Zurbrugg, as well as 2025 prospect Kevin Sperry.

Arnold, who is expected to step in as the starter after Dillon Gabriel, has affirmed his commitment to Oklahoma despite Lebby’s departure. Todd Arnold, Jackson’s father, reassured that Jackson remains dedicated to OU, stating, “It doesn’t affect Jackson. He plays for OU.”

Jackson Arnold, a 5-star recruit from Denton (TX) Guyer and the Gatorade National Player of the Year, has played in five games this season, completing 18 of 24 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 78 yards and a score.

Retaining the other quarterbacks is also crucial, as some have developed strong relationships with Lebby through the recruiting process and might consider following him to Mississippi State. Hawkins, a 4-star prospect from Frisco (TX) Emerson, is ranked 21st nationally among quarterbacks for 2024. Zurbrugg, a 3-star prospect from Alliance, OH, ranks 56th nationally. Sperry, ranked 13th among 2025 quarterbacks, moved from Rock Hill, TX, to Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, OK, to be closer to OU and Lebby.

Lebby, who interviewed for the MSU position last week and quickly became the top candidate, was under contract with OU through 2025 with an annual salary of $1.9 million. His coaching career began after a back injury prevented him from playing at OU. He has since held various coaching positions, including stints at Baylor, Southeastern University, UCF, and Ole Miss, before joining Oklahoma.