To many fans, the future of the Longhorns might not be on the Forty Acres just yet.
He might be sitting in a high school English class in New Mexico, waiting to head to football practice or wondering about a homecoming date. The future of Longhorn football could be 4-star QB commit Zach Gentry of El Dorado, New Mexico.
Gentry is currently rated as the No. 6 pocket passer in the country by ESPN and Rivals, and a quick study of his highlight reel shows why.
Gentry displays great accuracy, coupled with sling-shot like arm strength, which allows him to fit his throws into whatever tight windows a defense gives him. Normally with such a tall QB, it is assumed that there is no run threat involved. That’s not true with Gentry. He has been impressive as a runner in zone-read and option situations, and once he gets going downhill with his long strides he can be hard to bring down. He also displays good vision of the field, with the ability to see past his first and second progressions to keep a play alive.
One of Gentry's biggest attributes is also his main weakness. While his height gives him an advantage when it comes to field vision, Gentry couldn't be counted on to be able to get out of pressure from a quick defensive line using his feet. He will also have to worry about being able to withstand the lower body blows that he will be experiencing. His footwork will definitely need help once he gets on campus, as he has problems with stutter stepping when coming out of the gun. While Gentry is clearly not being recruited as a dual-threat guy, his footwork issues and quickness can only be improved by closer coaching.
Proof of Gentry’s potential is littered all over his stat sheet. Just a few Fridays ago, Gentry went off for 444 yards of total offense-- all in the second half alone. Down 18 points to Mayfield, another undefeated 6-A powerhouse, at the start of the third quarter, the third-year letterman threw for 189 yards and one touchdown, while showing off his versatility by rushing for 255 yards and five touchdowns to lead his team to victory in double overtime. Gentry scored the winning 2-point conversion in that game, and described his performance as “awesome” in terms of the numbers he was able to put up and the come from behind victory.
Gentry is the kind of quarterback Texas assistant head coach for the offense Shawn Watson could work wonders with. His huge frame gives him the ability to easily see over the kind of big offensive linemen Watson likes to utilize, while adding an extra zip to the ball a smaller quarterback wouldn't have. Currently at a slim 230 pounds , Gentry could easily add 15 to 20 pounds with a college level strength program to enhance his ability to absorb hits in the pocket without jeopardizing his running ability.
While Gentry never looks to run first, his big arm can back a defense up so much that he is able to use his athleticism to rip off for long yard touchdown runs, like the two 80-yard runs he had against Mayfield.
Watson originally recruited him while still at Louisville, while still helping first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater finish up his stellar career with the Cardinals. If Watson can work the same kind of magic with this tall kid from New Mexico, it could be fun to watch the Longhorn offense in a couple of years.