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May 12, 2014

Longhorns land their QB, and he's a good one



The Texas Longhorns have landed a 2015 quarterback commitment and it's a big one, both figuratively and literally.

Albuquerque Eldorado QB Zach Gentry, one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country, gave Texas a commitment on Monday afternoon. The 6-6 Gentry chose the Longhorns over Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, said Eldorado head coach Charlie Dodson.

The commitment to Texas comes on the same day that Texas assistant coach Shawn Watson checked on Gentry during the spring evaluation period for the second time. Gentry, who was also scheduled to have a conversation with Alabama head coach Nick Saban on Monday, got in touch with the UT coaches later on Monday to give the word of his commitment and end the recruiting process.

"He was supposed to talk to coach Saban this afternoon but I think he had made up his mind this weekend with his family," coach Dodson said.

After notifying the UT staff of his decision, Gentry called the other coaches that were recruiting him and notified them of his decision. He had visited all four of his finalists and all four schools had made him a top recruiting priority. Tennessee had been recruiting Gentry as hard as anybody. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin visited Gentry at his school last week, as did members of the Oklahoma State staff.

In the end, it's Texas that is left celebrating, due in large part to the relationship Gentry has built up with Watson and UT head coach Charlie Strong going back to their time at Louisville. Gentry camped at Louisville last summer, while Strong and Watson were still with the Cardinals, and picked up an offer shortly after that event. The coaches extended an offer on Texas' behalf in March of this year and their efforts paid off on Monday.

"I think with Alabama, he was their number one guy as well. They were really wanted him. I think he kind of knew that Texas was his school from the relationships with coach Watson and coach Strong," Dodson said. "I think he likes everything they're going to bring to the table, the environment they're going to provide at Austin, the new attitude, he's excited bout it."

Texas was believed to be in a pretty good position with Gentry after he listed the Longhorns among his favorites and after he visited the UT campus in April, but few saw the commitment coming on Monday. Dodson said he was shocked when he heard the news, but he could sense the relief from Gentry once the commitment was official.

"We're winding down here, we have finals next week. I think it's been weighing on him a little bit. He just wanted to get it done, and he felt most comfortable with Texas," Dodson said. "Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Alabama were the schools that recruited him the most. He called those guys, but coach Strong, coach Watson, he always admired those guys and that's the direction he wanted to go."

Gentry is actually close to 6-7, his coach said, and weighs about 230 pounds. When people hear about Gentry's size, they assume he's a pure pocket passer with no mobility. According to his coach, that's a misrepresentation of Gentry's skills.

"I think his athletic ability (stands out)," Dodson said. "He's all of 6-6. I don't call him 6-7, because if you call him 6-7, people think he's slow. His feet are really good, he runs really well. The positive things about him are the big arm, and he has feet to go along with it. Everyone that came through here to see him, they're amazed at his feet, him being as fluid as he is.

"He's going to, by the time he plays, be 240 pounds. Once he gets around that corner, he's a pretty big boy. In the state of New Mexico, he won't let one guy bring him down.

"His arm, combined with his footwork, obviously with his size, he can see over the line and he does a good job with that."

Texas will host its summer camps in June, including an Elite Quarterback Academy from June 9-11. Gentry is expected to make his way to Austin for one of the UT camps, Dodson said.

"I'm sure he'll come to something this summer. Coach Watson will want to work with him," said Dodson.

A four-star prospect, Gentry held offers from the likes of Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Penn State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon State and TCU, among several others.


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