2017 Season Countdown: #50 Zach Gentry

2017 Season Countdown: #50 Zach Gentry


July 13, 2017

Zach Gentry (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Zach Gentry
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 244 lbs.
High school: Albuquerque (NM) Eldorado
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #83
Last year: I ranked Gentry #61 and said he would be a backup tight end. He played in seven games.
TTB Rating: 84

Gentry has had an interesting career in just two years on campus. Brought in as a blue-chip quarterback, he struggled with the offense and began taking snaps as a tight end during the bowl preparation at the end of the 2015 season. He then struggled with blocking at the tight end position, so he spent the second half of the 2016 season taking reps at wide receiver. This spring Michigan was down a couple tight ends from last year, and Gentry was back at tight end.

Gentry still struggles with blocking, despite the fact that he’s listed at 244 lbs. Honestly, he’s terrible at blocking as an in-line tight end. He’s not aggressive, and he’s slow to get off the ball. I would be surprised if Michigan uses him in that role at all this season. However, he is a unique specimen as a receiving prospect, and he has shown that ability on multiple occasions. His most exciting play was a long catch-and-run touchdown in the spring game; it was a busted coverage, but he made a (walk-on) defender miss in space and then sprinted to the endzone. The ability is obvious. Whether Michigan uses that athletic ability or not remains to be seen, but it’s there. I think the idea of a matchup problem is overused, but a guy who’s 6’7″ and can run like Gentry is a rarity.

Prediction: Backup tight end

19 comments

  1. Comments: 15
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Julio
    Jul 13, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Michigan needs to stop recruiting guys that aren’t already NFL size. All the recruits should map perfectly to an NFL position. No ‘tweeners or undersized guys that require projection, please.

    Only five-star recruits (which are the only ones that are any good) should be considered. It’s a huge disappointment that Harbaugh isn’t pulling in all five-star recruits. He should have been recruiting at Alabama and OSU levels right away.

    Also, I might be mentally ill.

    /s

    • Comments: 904
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Jul 13, 2017 at 11:35 AM

      Well done.

    • Comments: 635
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jul 13, 2017 at 12:57 PM

      Thanks for your hyperbolic nonsense that shows you understand nothing.

      But since feel the need to lie about what I’ve said, and to drop it like a turd into a thread where I haven’t even participated, it might be your state of mind that needs a check. If you’d like to discuss anything I ACTUALLY said, feel free to quote it back to me, word for word, and I’ll be happy to explain it to you.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 13, 2017 at 9:23 PM

        Pretty telling that you assume this is about you.

    • Comments: 568
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Jul 13, 2017 at 10:33 PM

      Haha, best s/post I’ve read all off-season

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 174
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    I haven’t written Gentry’s future contributions off. I like your writeup and ranking Thunder.

    Has he developed hands that encourage his QB’s to throw to him? Even if he isn’t a much of an in line blocking TE will he throw down out of a spread? Is he tough enough to make himself a target in the red zone? I think if the above are reasonably affirmative Harbaugh/Drevno/Pep will find something for him to do.

  3. Comments: 84
    Joined: 10/22/2015
    SinCityBlue
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    Any chance he can become a Funchess 2.0 and be used that way?

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 13, 2017 at 3:44 PM

      I don’t think so, because Funchess was a more natural receiver. He was an impact guy from the beginning of his career. I think he could be USED in the same way, I guess, but I don’t think he’ll be as effective.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 13, 2017 at 9:25 PM

      This is my hope. You can put impact receivers on the field as faux-TEs if they look the part. Michigan did this with Funchess his freshman year but eventually teams caught on to the fact that he couldn’t block a lick.

      Still – you can get some big plays from it. Maybe that’s all we can ask for from Gentry for now. With 2 more years left after this season, that might be just fine.

  4. Comments: 904
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    Again, blocking is only about desire and technique. A guy Gentry’s size that can at least shadow is a problem for any defensive back, but … this is Michigan, you have to block. I would argue that it’s the prerequisite skill for getting on the field here as it has been for generations, RR regime excluded … ok, ok, i have no idea what if anything was going on in the heads of Hoke/Borges.

    if this is my team, I’m telling Gentry, “Learn to do everything Coach Frey is teaching you. Learn to do it well and you are a 10 year career in the NFL just waiting to happen. Don’t learn it and you’ll spend the rest of your life in New Mexico explaining to people how it is that you’re selling insurance.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 13, 2017 at 9:26 PM

      You’re implying that the blocking was bad under RR? I thought it was the best we’ve seen since since the early aughts.

      • Comments: 904
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Jul 14, 2017 at 6:46 AM

        No, I’m saying that it was the prerequisite skill for getting on the field for the skill positions. I think Rodriguez wanted skill guys who could work in space, at the top of his list of requirements.

        But i will agree with you that his teams blocked. The kids from ‘The muck” were demons. Fitz Toussaint was awful.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 14, 2017 at 12:02 PM

          I think it was a pretty big deal for RR to have his WRs be able to block. Big reason why Odoms saw the field so early and a few other more highly rated WR didn’t.

          You might have a point about the RB spot. Smith was great but maybe some of the others were not. Honestly I can’t remember. But in general, RR’s RB seemed to have more blocking responsibilities than usual since the QB handled a big chunk of the run game.

  5. JC
    Comments: 121
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jul 13, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    I have Uche sitting at #50 (#2 SAM behind Furbush), Martin at #51 (#6 WR), Gentry at #52 (#3 TE), and McKeon at #53. (#4 TE). We are relatively consistent in our rankings of Uche and Gentry.

    For TE, I think Bunting is Butt Light, #1 TE, should be in the teens. He’s not the same difference maker as Butt was, but he is Butt Light.

    TJ Wheatley is behind. He can block. He supposedly dropped a bit of weight this year and is trying to become a pass-catching TE as well. With the 2-TE sets we’re going to be running this year, I think he should be right at the end of the starters, low-mid 20s.

    After that, it’s a crapshoot. I feel we’re going to see McKeon, Eubanks, Gentry, but how much of a difference are they going to make? I think McKeon can backup Bunting Light this year, but how much are we going to depend on him? I feel Gentry will make more of an impact this year, but McKeon currently has the better skillset for filling the #1 TE role.

    I CAN’T WAIT FOR FOOTBALL TO BE HERE.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 13, 2017 at 9:28 PM

      #2 SAM = #4 or 5 OLB

    • Comments: 24
      Joined: 12/19/2015
      greggoblue
      Jul 13, 2017 at 9:39 PM

      This is an interesting question you pose. The prevailing sentiment (that I’ve read littered all over TOS) is that TJ Wheatley will lead the team in TE receptions this year. Lorenz went even as far to say that, in his “bold prediction” that TJ Wheatley will surpass Butt’s numbers from last year. Now topping 46 catches for 546 yards and 4 TDs does indeed seem quite bold, but the fact remains that there is a LOT of available snaps now in a TE-heavy offense and the position is truly up for grabs. Talk about excitement for the coming season!

  6. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 13, 2017 at 9:21 PM

    ” the idea of a matchup problem is overused”

    YES!

  7. Comments: 24
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    greggoblue
    Jul 13, 2017 at 9:31 PM

    A couple of things:

    As mentioned by a previous poster, “Want-to” is a big part of blocking; but the other part is education on technique. We’ve heard multiple TEs this summer say the emphasis on blocking technique from Frey as the position coach is a night and day difference. To be expected, obviously, from an OL coach and not to throw JayBaugh under the bus, but this could signal a welcome improvement from a guy like Gentry in that department. I’m not saying he is going to be Asiasi, but with his rare blend of size and athleticism – even being an average blocker will be of tremendous value.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 13, 2017 at 11:38 PM

      Good point about Frey here. Michigan hasn’t had a good blocking coach on TEs in a while.

      The dream of the Asiasi/Wheatley combo double threat block and catch threat isn’t dead yet if Bunting gets his blocking up.

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