Michigan took a couple big hits in personnel on Wednesday when redshirt junior tight end Zach Gentry and junior cornerback David Long, Jr. said they would be skipping their final year of eligibility to go to the NFL.
New Mexico native Gentry was a 4-star recruit in the 2015 class, the #8 pro-style quarterback, and #174 overall. A one-time Texas commit, the then newly hired Jim Harbaugh got Gentry to pick Michigan late in the recruiting cycle. After a season spent attempting to learn the quarterback position, Gentry started catching passes during bowl practices of his freshman year. He didn’t catch his first pass until 2017. In total, he hauled in 49 passes for 817 yards (16.7 YPC) and 4 touchdowns over his career, and he was named Third Team All-Big Ten in 2018.
Long, from Los Angeles, was a 4-star cornerback in 2016 and ranked as the #7 player at his position and #65 overall. Michigan hauled him in late in the 2016 class, and one of the big recruiting stories down the stretch was the story of Jim Harbaugh climbing a tree at Long’s house while on a home visit. Long played sparingly in 2016 but then became a lockdown corner for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He allowed only one touchdown in 2018 and was named First Team All-Big Ten. He made 38 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 17 pass breakups during his career.
Gentry said he was not disappointed with his draft grade, and he should be highly valued at 6’8″ and 262 lbs. with good speed. He’s also a position-switcher who still has room to improve and develop. He won’t be a first round pick, but I would expect him to go somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.
Long has decent size for a corner at 5’11” and 187 lbs. He tackles well, has good speed, and knows how to be physical. There’s no buzz about him being a first round pick, but he could go late on day two.