Name: Zach Gentry
Gentry hails from Albuquerque, NM and is a 24/7 composite four star recruit. Rated the number eight pro style quarterback for 2015, the one time Texas commit also held offers from Maryland, Louisville and most impressively, Alabama. There are only five recruits rated two stars or above in the state of New Mexico, so needless to say Gentry did not face elite competition at the high school level. Gentry committed to the Longhorns back in may of 2014, but once Harbaugh was hired, he made Gentry a top priority and got him on campus for an OV on Janurary 23rd. On Janurary 24th, Zach flipped from Texas and Committed to U of M giving the Wolverines their second quarterback of the class.
Style Of Passer: Pro
Gentry has the rare but coveted monster build for a QB standing at over 6’6 yet slight at 230 pounds. At his height, Gentry will be able to scan the field with ease and have every throwing lane at his disposal. His frame could add some weight if the coaching staff sees fit, as he could pack on some lower body muscle. He is not quite as thick as Wilton Speight, who is similar in size.
Arm Strength: A-
There isn’t a spot on the field that Gentry cannot reach with his 12 gauge of an arm. In high school, his team lived by the motto of GGD (Gotta go deep) and its hard to blame them with a quarterback the caliber of Gentry. He throws the deep ball phenomenally, weather he needs touch to fit it into a tight space or put some heat on it to hit a guy in stride, Gentry will get it there. Something that Gentry does lack, is Zip. There is not a large sample size of three step throws (Slant, Out, Hitch) but it stands out to me that he needs work in this area. Gentry will get it there fast but not necessarily quick if that makes sense. An example of someone who has a cannon arm but also great Zip is Aaron Rodgers, he is the poster child for having it all, and at this point Gentry does not have the Zip.
Gentry did not have the luxury of throwing to D1 caliber receivers throughout his career like Alex Malzone did, but his tape will clearly show him making his pass catchers better players, which is something all great Qb’s do. Gentry’s height gives him an advantage with putting the ball where he wants it on second and third level routes. He can put the ball where only his guy can get it, especially on fade and go routes. We don’t see much back shoulder throws here but honestly it’s a rarity in high school. Gentry can throw a goal line fade as well as anyone and as I mentioned before his deep ball is great. Gentry has great touch, but almost to a fault. Every few throws you will see him putting too much touch when its not needed, which will cause his receiver to either stop their route or slow down to catch the ball. So occasionally Gentry will under throw his guy but its due to too much touch, not arm strength. On the small amount of underneath throws we see from Gentry, he often places them too high, most likely due to his 6’7 frame. There Is definitely room for improvement here.
Mobility/Pocket Presence: A-
Gentry’s mobility and athleticism are elite, especially considering his size. His stride is so long, and it doesn’t take him long to get up to speed. His running ability is to the point where I would consider him a dual threat QB, as he most certainly was in high school. Weather it was the read option, a sprint out or an improvisation, Gentry looked like Kaepernick in the playoffs against the Packers versus opposing defenses. Where Gentry will get marked down however, is his pocket presence, as he has very little. Gentry has happy feet, and is almost comparable to Johnny Manziel for the fact that if a defender even flashes, He’ll scramble out of the pocket. Its hard to blame the kid, he made so many plays with his feet in high school with his legs. Great pocket passers need to step up into the pocket, with their eyes downfield looking for an open receiver, and Gentry does not do that to this point, however I see no reason Jimmy wont have him coached up on this in no time.
Gentry’s motion is long and slow. Even on short, quick throws that require zip (he has none) it takes longer for the ball to come out than you would like. The biggest no-no I see from Gentry is he throws off his back foot far too often. His film shows a wide range of throws; short, intermediate, deep, sprint out, play action and 3 step, and you can see him throwing off his back foot on every type of throw. Gentry does a decent job of keeping the ball close to his body, and away from defenders and another thing Gentry does a good job of is bringing his feet along and squaring his shoulders up to make an accurate throw, its some of the best Ive seen in a prospect.
Decision Making/Football IQ: B
This is the hardest skills set to grade, especially without multiple game films. Zach Gentry would not be a top 10 quarterback in the 2015 class without having decent decision making skills, however from what I can ascertain, his knowledge of the game is average. This will hurt his overall grade and that may be too bad but you will only see good things on a highlight tape, a highly regarded football mind recently said “A kids highlight tape is the ten best plays of his career” and while Gentry’s highlight tape is impressive, it will not reflect his IQ to what it could be.
Gentry’s combination of frame and athleticism is so rare at the quarterback position; guys like him usually transition to a tight end of defensive end at the next level. What is preventing this from happening to Zach is his elite arm. With average mechanics and already good footwork, Gentry will only get better once he is on campus. Gentry is at a huge disadvantage not being early enrolled, as Alex Malzone will have fifteen practices under his belt before Gentry even moves into his dorm. I feel that Gentry is the least ready of the Qb’s that will be on the roster in 2015, but he may have the most potential and upside. Expect a redshirt for this young man, but do not count him out making some noise during the 2016 spring practice session. While not his first official commit at U of M, This was a huge flip for Harbaugh & Co. Plucking a kid out of the southwest that was already committed to an elite program was a show of things to come from Jim.