Zach Gentry, Wolverine

Tag: 2015 recruiting

25Jan 2015
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Zach Gentry, Wolverine

Albuquerque (NM) Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry (image via

Albuquerque (NM) Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry committed to Michigan on Saturday. He originally committed to Texas in May of 2014 and was solid to the Longhorns until recently. He chose Texas – and then Michigan – over offers from Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Tennessee, among others.

Gentry is a 6’6″, 230 lb. prospect whom I scouted (LINK) last January when Michigan was sorting through quarterbacks for the 2015 class.

ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #9 pocket quarterback, #118 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #4 pro-style quarterback, #105 overall
Scout: 4-star, #19 quarterback, #278 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #16 pro-style quarterback

Because he’s a quarterback, some statistics:
2012: 150/281 for 2,022 yards, 17 touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 305 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns
2013: 160/286 for 1,587 yards, 9 touchdowns, 3 interceptions; 617 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns

The story with Gentry is a little bit unclear at this point. Gentry was on Michigan’s radar early in the 2015 recruiting cycle and garnered a visit from then Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who watched Gentry throw and then took a pass on offering him. In the meantime, Michigan pulled in quarterback Alex Malzone, and Gentry committed to the Longhorns. He seemed solid to Texas and dismissed overtures from several schools, including Alabama. Then Harbaugh came calling, and it made Gentry rethink his decision. Depending on whom you believe, the Longhorns’ continued pursuit of 247 Composite 5-star Kyler Murray (committed to Texas A&M) and 4-star Kai Locksley (committed to Florida State) was off-putting to Gentry. Or there are rumors that Texas is looking to become more of a spread option team. Or it might be that Harbaugh has a reputation for coaching up quarterbacks, whereas Texas head coach Charlie Strong has a shorter resume (albeit one including Teddy Bridgewater). Regardless of the reason(s), Gentry accepted an invitation to Ann Arbor this week, and it paid off with a flip.

In case you’re wondering, Texas still has 3-star Brandon Merrick’s commitment, plus the potential for one of the aforementioned players.

In reviewing Gentry’s senior film, it’s clear that he has a lot of upside. He has a good arm – not great – and throws a catchable ball. Accuracy is tough to gauge from highlights, but he has a decent completion percentage and doesn’t throw many interceptions. It’s important to remember that good high school quarterbacks often suffer from poor receivers who can’t get open, drop a lot of balls, etc. (and some receivers are cursed by poor quarterback play, too, so it goes both ways). Gentry has a three-quarters delivery that might be more of a cause for concern if not for his 6’6″ frame, sometimes listed as big as 6’7″. In regard to throwing the ball, he looks very natural on the move and can push the ball down the field while getting out of the pocket, particularly going to his right. Moving is one of his big strengths. Gentry has very good speed, a little bit of shimmy, and some good instincts when it comes to running the ball. While he won’t be a threat to take it the distance very time, he’s every bit as mobile as a guy like Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, who moved the chains against some good defenses with some timely scrambles.

On the negative side, Gentry has some mechanical issues aside from the arm slot. He also tends to throw off his back foot or falling to the side without stepping toward his target, which causes the ball to hang a little bit. His footwork when taking shotgun snaps needs work, and he’s exclusively a shotgun/pistol guy, so getting him to drop back from under center might be a large undertaking. My biggest concern with him is that the ball rarely comes out “on time” within the framework of the play. He never plants his back foot and throws. I am not a fan of the way his team’s routes are designed and plays are run, and these are not the complicated route combinations he will be seeing in college. New Mexico is not known for its football, and it shows – not only in his own team, which lacks refinement, but also in the play of his opponents.

Overall, Gentry is a high-quality commitment for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh, but he’s also a boom-or-bust type. He’ll be a long way from home, learning an offense with pro-level reads and combinations, and competing with several other guys for playing time. At the same time, he will either be the most gifted (or second-most behind Shane Morris) athlete at the position. The whole playbook is open for a guy like this, who can throw it deep, throw it short, stand in the pocket, roll out, scramble, or do some designed runs. Fellow 2015 classmate Alex Malzone is more refined and ready right now, while Gentry has the better long-term potential. For better or worse, watching Gentry’s film reminded me of Utah quarterback Travis Wilson.

This gives Michigan eight commits in the 2015 class, and Gentry follows defensive end Reuben Jones as the only two guys (so far) to commit to Jim Harbaugh. Word has spread that Harbaugh could very well go after two quarterbacks in each class, and this starts off that trend with a bang. Five of the eight commits are offensive players. According to the Bentley Historical Library, this is just the second Michigan commit out of New Mexico in over a hundred years, with just defensive tackle Alan Branch coming out of Rio Rancho (NM) Cibola in that time.

TTB Rating: 84 (ratings explanation)

25Jan 2015
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Reuben Jones, Wolverine

Left to right: Reuben Jones, Greg Mattison, Jake Pickard

Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson defensive end Reuben Jones committed to Michigan today. Jones was committed to Nebraska from mid-November until just a few days ago, but he did not report a good relationship with the Cornhunskers’ new staff.

Jones is a 6’3″, 223 lb. player with a 4.89 forty. As a senior in 2014, he made 71 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks.

ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #58 defensive end
Rivals: 3-star, #27 strongside end
Scout: 3-star, #145 defensive end
247 Sports: 3-star, 83 grade, #64 strongside end

Jones started earning offers last spring, and those offers escalated to the level of programs like Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, and Nebraska as his senior year wore on. He went ahead and committed to Nebraska in November, but that only lasted two months and he did not fit well with new head coach Mike Riley and his staff. When new Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin was hired out of Florida, he quickly convinced Jim Harbaugh to extend Jones an offer. That pre-existing relationship blossomed into scheduling an official visit, the de-commitment, and then picking the Wolverines during his official visit this weekend. It may have helped that one of Lake Gibson’s assistant coaches is former Michigan offensive guard Ricky Barnum.

Jones is a high-effort player. If you watch his highlights below, the second clip shows him chasing down a wide receiver approximately 50 yards downfield after the guy catches a screen pass. He plays with some reckless abandon and at high speed, which can be a good thing. He plays with a good pad level and fires hard off the ball. He lacks prototypical height for a lineman, but he has a solid frame that should see him carry 260+ pounds eventually.

Speaking of reckless abandon, Jones can be a little undisciplined at times. He can overpursue and get too much depth on his pass rush. He does not use his hands well to shed blocks and tends to try to outmuscle offensive linemen, which will not work so well in college. The physical skills don’t jump out, so he will have to clean up some of the weaknesses and maximize what he can. He also shows some excitability on the field, which can be a positive thing but can also be dangerous.

Overall, Jones is a solid pickup late in the recruiting cycle. I think his lack of physical skills will prevent him from becoming a top-notch player, but he could certainly works his way into being a viable backup or late-career starter. His frame reminds me of former Wolverine Ken Wilkins, although his play on the field is more reminiscent of Mario Ojemudia.

Jones is the seventh overall commit in the 2015 class but the first of the Jim Harbaugh era. He is also only the second defensive player in the class. With a decent number of players on the line, Jones should not be needed immediately, but there is the possibility of him serving as a backup immediately. Michigan lost both starting defensive ends (Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark) to graduation, which leaves junior Taco Charlton and senior Ojemudia penciled in as next year’s starters. The 2014 class included just one defensive end (Lawrence Marshall), so it’s not out of the question for Michigan to continue pursuing the position.

TTB Rating: 67 (ratings explanation)

24Jan 2015
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Official Visitors: January 23-25, 2015

Gainesville (GA) Gainesville
cornerback Chris Williamson

Markel Bush – CB – Delray Beach (FL) American Heritage: Bush is a 5’10”, 170 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He tweeted out that he would be taking an official visit to Michigan, so despite the lack of offers, apparently Michigan is pretty serious about recruiting him. On the plus side, Michigan has not used many of their official visits with such an in-flux season and off-season, plus a small recruiting class in general. So they’re in a position to host a few more visitors at this point and take some more risks than a lot of schools.

Nate Dalton – CB – Houston (TX) Cypress Falls: Dalton is a 6’2″, 185 lb. prospect who picked up an offer from Michigan earlier this week. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #89 cornerback, and #1014 overall. He has taken visits to Oklahoma, Kentucky, and and Arkansas, and he’ll be in Ann Arbor this weekend. He had 4 picks this past season and is a physical kid who could also play safety. UPDATE: Dalton is no longer planning to visit.

Zach Gentry – QB – Albuquerque (NM) Eldorado: Gentry is a 6’7″, 230 lb. prospect who has been committed to Texas since last May. Texas is also pursuing 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray, and that – combined with Jim Harbaugh’s reputation – is causing Gentry to explore his options. When I did scouting reports on 2015 quarterbacks a year ago, Gentry was #4 on my list (LINK). He’s now a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 pro-style quarterback, and #176 overall.

Reuben Jones – DE – Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson: Gibson is a 6’3″, 223 lb. prospect who committed to Nebraska in November. He has also visited Michigan State and Louisville. Jones is a 247 Composite 3-star, the #45 strongside end, and #780 overall. Jones does not sound likely to stick with his commitment to the Cornhuskers. He is coached by former Michigan offensive guard Ricky Barnum, but considering the regime change, there aren’t many connections remaining between Barnum and the current staff.

Will Lockett – CB – Manvel (TX) Manvel: Lockett is a 6’0″, 182 lb. prospect who committed to UCLA in August. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #77 cornerback, and #849 overall. As a senior this past season, he made 48 tackles, 1 sack, 4 interceptions (1 for a touchdown), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 9 pass breakups. He claims a 34″ vertical and a 4.5 forty. Harbaugh secured a visit after visiting his school on Tuesday.

Hit the jump for a few more visitors.

Joshua McMillon – LB – Memphis (TN) Whitehaven: McMillon is a 6’3″, 239 lb. prospect who committed to Alabama last August. Michigan was in his top two but the Crimson Tide won out. He’s a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 outside linebacker, and #231 overall. UPDATE: About six hours after scheduling his visit, McMillon canceled the visit and said he’s “solid to Alabama.”

Jake Pickard – TE – Millburn (NJ) Millburn: Pickard is a 6’6″, 231 lb. prospect who committed to Wisconsin last July; he also has offers from Nebraska, Oregon, Rutgers, Syracuse, and several others. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #58 tight end, and #1248 overall. Pickard was angling for a Michigan offer early in his recruitment, and he got one in the middle of this week, setting up an official visit immediately. Pickard could play tight end, defensive end, offensive tackle, or even defensive tackle in college, depending on how his body fills out.

Matt Snyder – TE – San Ramon (CA) California: Snyder is a 6’5″, 245 lb. prospect who committed to Nebraska in late December. He had been committed to head coach Mike Riley at Oregon State since October, but Riley moved from Beaverton to Lincoln after the season, and Snyder followed him. Snyder is a 247 Composite 3-star, the #28 tight end, and #820 overall. Snyer has good size and decent straight-line speed and looks like a decent tight end prospect but not an absolute game-changer. While Harbaugh is a wizard with tight ends, Riley did some good things at Oregon State; starting tight end Connor Hamlett had 104 catches, 1109 yards, and 10 touchdowns over the past three seasons. This is Snyder’s only other official visit he’s taking, so it appears the only team with a chance to flip him is Michigan.

Nolan Ulizio – OT – West Chester (OH) Lakota West: Ulizio is a 6’6″, 280 lb. prospect who committed to UConn in mid-December; he also has offers from Cincinnati and Kentucky. He’s a 247 Composite 2-star, the #222 offensive tackle, and #2326 overall. Michigan is obviously his biggest offer and he was very excited about it, so he might be the most likely to flip this weekend.

Reagan Williams – FB – Jackson (OH) Jackson: Williams is a 6’3″, 232 lb. prospect who committed to Stanford last July. He took his official visit to Stanford this past weekend and was offered by the Wolverines during that visit. Williams is being looked at as a middle linebacker by some schools, but Michigan wants him working out of the backfield. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #3 inside linebacker, and #690 overall. Williams visited Michigan a couple times prior to committing to Stanford, so the interest is not new.

Chris Williamson – CB – Gainesville (GA) Gainesville: Williamson is a 6’1″, 190 lb. prospect who has visited or will visit Cal, North Carolina, and Florida. Auburn also swooped in with a recent offer, and he’s heavily considering the Tigers. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #56 athlete, and #610 overall. Williamson could fill several roles in college, including corner, safety, wide receiver, and returner.

23Jan 2015
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Scouting Report: Chris Williamson

Gainesville (GA) Gainesville cornerback Chris Williamson
(image via

Name: Chris Williamson
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Gainesville (GA) Gainesville
Position: Wide receiver/cornerback
Class: 2015

Notes: Holds offers from Auburn, BYU, Cal, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Iowa State, Kentucky, Miami-OH, Michigan, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, UCF, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest . . . ESPN 3-star, 79 grade, #57 ATH . . . Rivals 4-star, #36 ATH . . . 247 Sports 3-star, 89 grade, #39 ATH . . . Claims a 4.4 forty . . . 36″ vertical . . . 315 lb. bench press . . . 465 lb. squat . . . 10.83 time in 100 meters . . . “Big Play Ray” Buchanan called Williamson a “poor man’s Champ Bailey” (LINK)

Strengths: Adjusts well to ball in air . . . Good body control . . . Capable of making acrobatic plays . . . Able to high-point the ball . . . Very good leaping ability . . . Transitions well out of backpedal to break on ball . . . Fluid hips lead to good recovery speed . . . Excellent in zone coverage . . . As a receiver, consistently works to get open . . . Tough to jam off line of scrimmage due to lateral movement . . . Finds holes in defensive coverages . . . Good balance . . . Very good acceleration . . . Able to cut at full speed

Weaknesses: Needs to get stronger . . . Willing tackler but lacks proper technique and strength . . . Does not run feet through contact . . . Film does not show abilities in press man coverage . . . Appears to be holding back at times, but that may be due to playing both ways

Projection: Cornerback. I say this largely because of his size and body type, but he could easily play receiver in college. Williamson shows enough awareness and potential to slot in wherever a team needs him most. He has short legs, which lend themselves to good short-area quickness and change of direction, but he also has very good long speed. Williamson could also be one of those guys who becomes a multi-purpose returner, because he has the vision and quickness to return punts with the straight-line speed to do kickoff returns.

Reminds me of: Chris Davis from Auburn. I can’t think of a great equivalent with respect to Michigan, so I’ll go with the corner from Auburn who made his name with the 109-yard field goal return for a touchdown against Alabama in 2013 (LINK). I think they have similar physical skills, although I see Williamson having better ball skills.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Analysts have stated that it will be tough to pull Williamson away from the home-state Bulldogs, and Auburn also jumped into the picture with an offer a few weeks ago. He has visited Cal and North Carolina, he’ll be in Michigan this weekend, and then he’s going to Florida the last weekend in January. It seems to be kind of a crap shoot right now, but Michigan is right in the thick of it due to former Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin leading the charge.


20Jan 2015
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Rivals 250 for 2015 finalized

Saginaw (MI) Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole (image via

Rivals released their top 250 prospects at noon on Tuesday (LINK). The top 100 was revealed yesterday (LINK). Here’s what the top 250 looked like back in December (LINK). Movement for Michigan commits:

– Brian Cole fell from #91 to #101
– Grant Newsome jumped from #220 to #191
– Tyree Kinnel fell from #211 to #225

Here are the rest of the guys Michigan has offered:

101. Brian Cole – ATH – Michigan (Michigan)
108. Garrett Taylor – CB – Virginia (Penn State)
120. Dexter Williams – RB – Florida
123. Jashon Cornell – DE – Minnesota (Ohio State)
135. Clelin Ferrell – DE – Virginia (Clemson)
152. Juwan Johnson – WR – New Jersey (Penn State)
155. Matt Burrell, Jr. – OG – Virginia (Ohio State)
156. Miles Boykin – WR – Illinois (Notre Dame)
158. Preston Williams – WR – Georgia (Tennessee)
162. John Reid – CB – Pennsylvania (Penn State)
167. Jaason Lewis – RB – Virginia (Arizona State)
168. Darrin Kirkland, Jr. – LB – Indiana (Tennessee)
170. Dre’Mont Jones – DE – Ohio (Ohio State)
174. Tim Settle – DT – Virginia (Virginia Tech)
180. Josh Barajas – LB – Indiana (Notre Dame)
191. Grant Newsome – OT – New Jersey (Michigan)
193. Pat Allen – OT – Maryland
194. Auden Tate – WR – Florida (Florida State)
198. Ryan Bates – OT – Pennsylvania (Penn State)
202. Keaton Sutherland – OT – Texas (Texas A&M)
206. Zach Robertson – OG – California (Arizona State)
215. Johnny Frasier – RB – North Carolina (Florida State)
221. Hjalte Froholdt – DT – Florida (Arkansas)
223. Connor Williams – C – Texas (Texas)
225. Tyree Kinnel – S – Ohio (Michigan)
243. Darrell Taylor – DE – Virginia (Tennessee)
246. Asmar Bilal – LB – Indiana (Notre Dame)
247. Arden Key – DE – Georgia
249. Joshua McMillon – LB – Tennessee (Alabama)