2024 Spring Football Preview: Offensive Line

Tag: Andrew Gentry

17Mar 2024
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2024 Spring Football Preview: Offensive Line

Myles Hinton (image via MLive)

2023 Starters: LT La’Darius Henderson, LG Trevor Keegan, C Drake Nugent, RG Zak Zinter, RT Karsen Barnhart
Losses: Barnhart (NFL), Henderson (NFL), Trente Jones (NFL), Keegan (NFL), Nugent (NFL), Zinter (NFL)
Returning players: Myles Hinton (RS Sr.), Jeffrey Persi (RS Sr.), Raheem Anderson (RS Jr.), Tristan Bounds (RS Jr.), Greg Crippen (RS Jr.), Giovanni El-Hadi (RS Jr.), Dominic Giudice (RS Jr.), Andrew Gentry (RS So.), Connor Jones (RS So.), Nathan Efobi (RS Fr.), Amir Herring (RS Fr.), Evan Link (RS Fr.)
Newcomers: Josh Priebe (RS Sr.), Blake Frazier (Fr.), Jake Guarnera (Fr.)
Projected starters: LT Hinton, LG El-Hadi, C Crippen, RG Priebe, RT Persi

Michigan went from having a terrible offensive line under Brady Hoke to a decent offensive line at the beginning of the Harbaugh era to one of the best in the country at the end of Harbaugh’s tenure. In two of Harbaugh’s final three seasons, Michigan won the Joe Moore Award for the best offensive line in the country; in the third season, they lost the award but won a national championship. And now most of the key pieces to those awards and accomplishments are either in the NFL or heading there soon.

Much like the quarterback position, nobody really has a great idea of how the position group will shake out. Will it be as good as it was in 2021-2023? That’s unlikely. Could it still be a solid conglomeration? Sure. Four of the starters above (Hinton, El-Hadi, Crippen, and Persi) were 4-star prospects or better, and the only 3-star (Priebe) is a multi-year starter coming from Northwestern. Furthermore, they are all veteran players in at least their fourth year of college.

At offensive tackle, Hinton started one-third of the season before ceding his spot to Barnhart in 2023, so he seems like the most likely to start. On the right side, it could be a battle between Persi and Gentry. Both have looked somewhat rough in limited time, but Persi has two years of experience on Gentry, whose footwork still looked pretty sloppy in 2023.

At the guard positions, El-Hadi is another player who has some starting experience a couple seasons ago as an injury fill-in, so he seems likely to slide right in this season. Priebe is a veteran starting presence who should be able to fend off most contenders, if not all of them.

Word coming out of Ann Arbor about Crippen has been that he’s a potential All-American, but he’s just been blocked by two really good players in Olu Oluwatimi and Nugent over the past couple years. I have some doubts because I’m not sure why the coaching staff would recruit over him if he was that good, but he’s also two years older now than he was when Oluwatimi swooped in, so perhaps his improvement in that time has been significant.

Despite losing six offensive linemen to the draft, Michigan goes into spring with 15 other scholarship linemen on the roster. That’s somewhat mind-boggling to consider, since a team might have carried just 13 linemen a few years ago. In that bygone era of like 2019, we would be looking at 7 returning players and 6 true freshmen arriving sporadically in January and then June. Instead, there are 12 returning players, a transfer, and 2 early enrollee freshmen available for the spring, not to mention further reinforcements arriving this summer.

Some projected backups to keep an eye on are Raheem Anderson, who was reportedly ahead of Crippen early in their careers but has since appeared to be more of a factor at guard; Gentry, who could potentially start at tackle over Persi; and Herring, who’s a powerful offensive guard option that looked good in the spring game in 2023. Aside from Gentry possibly starting, Anderson and Herring are almost certainly backups for this season. Another players I’ll also be watching closely is Tristan Bounds, a behemoth of a player whose balance has been questionable in limited field time.

19Jul 2023
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2023 Season Countdown: #72 Andrew Gentry

Andrew Gentry (#75, image via Twitter)

Name: Andrew Gentry
312 lbs.
High school: 
Littleton (CO) Columbine
Offensive line
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I did not rank Gentry. He played in three games.
TTB Rating:

Gentry was a late addition to Michigan’s unit in 2022, and as a result, I completely overlooked putting him in the 2022 countdown. So he was not placed last year, which didn’t matter much because he played in just three games after completing his two-year Mormon mission. Nobody expected him to play a ton after taking two years off from football. He was still very rusty and played in just two games on offense, one at right guard and one at right tackle.

Going into the 2023 season, I have seen some positive buzz coming out of practices but I’m still not sold on him being ready. There’s still some rust to be knocked off from what I saw in the spring game, and there’s hefty competition on the offensive line. I think Gentry is at least one year away from being a starting-caliber player, whether it’s at guard or tackle. The speed of the game is still a little surprising to him, and he was getting caught flat-footed by aggressive defensive linemen. Perhaps after several linemen depart, he’ll be ready to go in 2024. For now I think he will carve out a role on the field goal/extra point protection unit.

Prediction: Backup offensive lineman and special teamer

2Apr 2023
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Thoughts on 2023 Spring Game

Benjamin Hall (image via Detroit Free Press)

Okay, it’s time to put some thoughts about the spring game on paper.

QUARTERBACK: We know what J.J. McCarthy brings to the table, and Michigan was never going to let him factor into the run game, so whatever. This comes down to thoughts on the backups. After watching Michigan have a good 1-2 punch the past two years with McCarthy and Cade McNamara, there is a big question mark at the #2 quarterback spot in 2023. I thought redshirt sophomore Davis Warren once again outplayed the competition, which comes from Alex Orji and Indiana transfer Jack Tuttle. Tuttle had a couple decent throws and showed some decent athleticism on the run, but Warren is more accurate and probably a better decision maker, despite the fact that Tuttle is a sixth-year player. Orji has decent arm strength but leaves something to be desired when it comes to his timing and accuracy; running is the best part of his game, and he’s a change-up guy. I would put him at #4 on the depth chart.

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8Dec 2021
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Andrew Gentry, Wolverine

Andrew Gentry (#75, image via Denver Post)

Littleton (CO) Columbine product Andrew Gentry has committed to Michigan as a part of the 2022 class. Gentry signed with Virginia as a part of the 2020 class, but that was more ceremonial than anything, since he was expected to go on his church mission for two years. Gentry did just that, and since he did not enroll, he was essentially back on the open market. Now Gentry will join the Wolverines next spring.

ESPN: 4-star, 84 grade, #12 OT, #78 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 6.0 grade, #8 OT, #68 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 94 grade, #11 OT, #147 overall

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