Name: Zach Gentry
Weight: 262 lbs.
High school: Albuquerque (NM) Eldorado
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #83
Last year: I ranked Gentry #50 and said he would be a backup tight end (LINK). He caught 17 passes for 303 yards (17.8 yards/catch) and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating: 84
Based on the 2016 season, it looked like Ian Bunting would be the starting tight end after Jake Butt graduated. Somehow Bunting worked his way down the depth chart while Gentry and Sean McKeon moved up. Gentry had flashed in the spring game, and he picked up where he left off by averaging 17.8 yards per catch. Four of his 17 catches went for 30+ yards. He’s 6’8″ and can run very well for someone his size. He’s a complete mismatch for defenses, and in my opinion, he could be another Mackey Award winner in the making.
One thing standing in the way of his earning the Mackey Award is McKeon. McKeon had almost twice as many receptions, even though he was less productive with those catches. And although McKeon is thought to be the more well rounded of the two, Gentry is a playmaking threat that teams have to account for on every play. It’s not often you can find a tight end who can get you 18 yards per catch. Gentry can be a big-play guy and a red zone threat, and he also improved his blocking. I also believe he can be effective on RPOs if Michigan decides to go that direction with quarterback Shea Patterson. I think this could be a breakout year for Gentry, and maybe it will be good enough for him to leave early for the NFL.
Prediction: Part-time starting tight end; 25 catches for 375 yards and 4 touchdowns
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