Coach: 'Sky's the limit' for UM commit Zach Gentry
Zach Gentry is an enormous high school quarterback, nearly 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds.
This must mean one thing — he's got to be slow.
Charlie Dotson, Gentry's coach at Eldorado High in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said nothing could be further from the truth. Gentry was committed to Texas, but during an official visit last weekend at Michigan, which included taking in the Michigan-Wisconsin basketball game from which ESPN's GameDay broadcast, he pledged to the Wolverines.
Gentry is new coach Jim Harbaugh's first quarterback commitment, and in the fall he will join a competition that includes Shane Morris, who will be a junior this fall and the only returning quarterback with game experience, redshirt freshman Wilton Speight, early enrollee freshman Alex Malzone and senior Russell Bellomy.
"Zach was never awkward as a runner," Dotson said. "He got faster every year and will get faster when he gets into a detailed training program. The sky's the limit athletically for him. He will run by people that will surprise people. We haven't timed him lately, but he ran in the 4.6s last summer. He's kind of freakish.
"I don't like calling him 6-7 because people will downplay him because they'll think about the mobility, that he must not be able to run. But he can. One thing about Zach, he could play three or four positions, defensive end, tight end, wide receiver or quarterback. I truly believe he could play any of those position. That tells you how athletic he is."
Allen Trieu, a Scout national recruiting analyst, has watched film on Gentry and said his mobility should not be overlooked.
"It's pretty impressive a kid that big can run that fast," Trieu said.
Gentry joins Malzone as the two quarterbacks in the freshman class. Malzone starred locally at Birmingham Brother Rice and will have the advantage because he already has enrolled and will participate in spring practice.
"You never really know but just looking at what we know about him, I think Harbaugh is going to give everyone a chance to compete," Trieu said. "The smart money is on Zach not heavily competing for the job this fall. It would be a monumental mountain for him to get into the conversation. He would be a good candidate to redshirt, and you put another year between him and Alex. Redshirting is never a bad thing."
During his senior season at Eldorado, Gentry threw for 2,978 yards and 26 touchdowns, and he also ran for 1,057 yards and 22 touchdowns. Gentry, who was one of the top basketball players in the state but opted out of playing his senior season, is rated four stars by Scout and Rivals.
Dotson said Harbaugh visited Gentry on Jan. 19, but school was not in session because of the Martin Luther King holiday, so he didn't have a chance have a coach-to-coach meeting.
Gentry de-committed from Texas last week. He committed to Michigan during halftime of last Saturday's game, according to GoBlueWolverine.com.
"When Jim Harbaugh is calling you, you're excited," Gentry told the Albuquerque Journal. "You know what? They're changing the offense at Texas, and I wasn't totally comfortable with that. The Michigan coaches called me a week ago, and the opportunity presented itself."
He mentioned how Harbaugh developed NFL quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford. Gentry has NFL aspirations, according to his high school coach.
"Obviously he's impressed with Coach Harbaugh and how he develops players," Dotson said.
Mobility is only part of the equation for a quarterback, obviously.
"He's got the big arm, and he can throw," Dotson said. "Probably the No. 1 thing is accuracy — he can put it on the money. I'd say accuracy with the football is his great attribute. We were a shotgun, spread-type of team so he was required to run the ball. We didn't run a ton of play-action stuff, which he will get more of now."
He is hopeful Gentry will redshirt this fall and take the year to work with strength and conditioning to get stronger and to learn the offense.
"I hope he gets to (redshirt)," Dotson said. "That's not anything against Zach. Sometimes they get thrust into stuff under high pressure. They thought he'd probably be the starter at Texas, but Michigan has another kid coming in, so it's not going to be easy."
His coach, even rival high school players have described Gentry as a teammate and opponent who treats everyone with respect.
"The thing I like most about Zach is he's just a respectful guy, so humble, never big-headed," Mitchell Cantwell, an opposing linebacker at La Cueva told the Albuquerque Journal. "Of anyone in the state, he has the right to be cocky, but I've never heard anything but humbleness from that guy."
Dotson said Gentry is well-liked among his peers.
"Everybody will love him," Dotson said. "He treats everybody the same, and that's a quality he's always had. He's good to the last person on the bench, as well as to the stars."