Additional 2015 QB Targets

Submitted by Brandon Brown on December 4th, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The Michigan coaching staff is being diligent when it comes to offering quarterbacks from the 2015 class. Josh Rosen is still the only signal caller to be offered but two new names have surfaced as potential offerees: Zach Gentry and Jimmy Fitzgerald are both receiving substantial attention from the Michigan coaches. I was able to catch up with both to see how they are feeling the Wolverines and gauge interest from both ends.

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Name: Zach Gentry
Position: Quarterback
Ht/Wt: 6'6"/230 lbs.
Location: Eldorado High School – Albequerque, NM
Class: 2015
Offers: Louisville, New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Diego State

When you are the grandson of the all-time winningest high school coach in your home-state you are expected to be a student of the game. Zach Gentry is just that as the grandson of Bill Gentry, a National High School Hall of Famer and all time wins leader in New Mexico. Grandpa Bill taught his grandson well and has helped mold him into a coveted prospect in the 2015 class.

Gentry was invited by the Michigan staff to attend the Ohio State game last weekend but being a New Mexican the travel arrangements and his basketball schedule proved to be too much to overcome. Gentry was legitimately bummed out that he couldn’t make it.

I wish I could’ve went but unfortunately between expenses and my basketball schedule I just couldn’t do it. I watched it on TV though! Michigan is a place that I am definitely interested in so I could see myself visiting at some point for sure. I would love to visit and it’s something I will discuss with my family, but I need to know where exactly they stand with me too.

It’s easy to understand why the coaches are interested in Gentry. At 6’6”, and over 230 lbs. he has prototypical size to run the pro-style offense. He’s also more athletic than most people give him credit for, running a 4.67 forty. I asked him to describe his own game.

I think that I’m described as a pocket-passer but people don’t realize that I can actually tuck the ball and I feel really comfortable running. If people watched me play they would see how I can sling the ball around well, but move and make quick cuts also for how big I am.

A few college coaches have told Gentry that he reminds them of a more athletic Ryan Mallett with his big frame and strong arm.

Michigan has shown an increased level of interest in Gentry recently and he is starting to form a pretty solid relationship with the staff.

They have done a great job staying in contact with me via game invites and mail. I’d say that of all the teams interested in me, Michigan has arguably sent me the most mail and invited me to the most games. I really like the staff there a lot and I think Coach Hoke will always have Michigan competitive. The staff has done a great job with me.

The young quarterback kept it PC and didn’t tip his hand to any type of leader or favorite at this point when it came to desirable offers. Being from New Mexico he didn’t really grow up rooting for any particular team.

A family friend of Zach’s currently attends Michigan and has spoken very positively of her experiences on campus and in the stands.

She has been to a lot of games and has said that they are absolutely awesome! She says that the crowd and pregame festivities are unbelievable!

Since Zach has never even been to the state of Michigan this influence from a family friend is a nice boost in his perception of student life in Ann Arbor. He hopes to someday experience it himself during a visit.

As always west coast kids can be hard to pull from home, but New Mexico isn’t California with multiple high-level universities to choose from. Gentry is 1,500 miles from Ann Arbor but that distance isn’t enough to keep the tradition and history out of his mind. He expressed how grateful he was that a school and program like Michigan was interested in him.

With a few offers already in his pocket and a senior season still to play Gentry has a while until a decision needs to be made and he is not in a hurry.

I’d like to let things happen and just play out for now, but if I feel really comfortable with a place I’ll go ahead and decide. As far as factors are concerned, the coaching staff, academics, and the type of offense they run are all important to me. I’d like an offense where I can sit in the pocket and throw the ball from a drop-back, but I’d also love to get the ball in my hands to carry it too. Michigan definitely fits the bill at this point.

I really like Gentry on film and he’s not lying when he says that he moves well for a kid his size. Louisville is a nice early offer for him but he didn’t mention the Cardinals at all when I asked him about a leader or favorite group. If offered I expect Michigan to get a very serious look from him.

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Jimmy Fitzgerald

Name: Jimmy Fitzgerald
Position: Quarterback
Ht/Wt: 6'3"/220 lbs.
Location: Centennial High School – Champaign, IL
Class: 2015
Offers: Akron, Harvard, Illinois, Yale

Clearly a smart kid, Jimmy Fitzgerald knew that he needed to be on hand last Saturday for The Game to take in his first experience at Michigan. Despite the outcome he came away more than impressed with the atmosphere of the The Big House.

Fitzgerald has made a big enough impression on the coaching staff for Coach Mallory to make a trip to Centennial High School on Tuesday to watch him throw in person. Fitzgerald told me that he threw it well enough to warrant a return trip from Coach Borges next week.

His offers from Harvard and Yale prove that he’s an intelligent young man and when I asked him to describe his game he answered just how you’d expect him to.

I’m about 6’3” and 220 lbs. and I ran a 4.71 40. I consider myself a coach on the field and I love to distribute the ball to our athletes and give them room to work.

He compared himself to Andrew Luck, which is obviously a tall order to live up to, but clearly this kid has confidence in his ability and his intelligence.

Michigan has been recruiting Fitzgerald pretty aggressively and he spoke very highly of the university and the coaching staff.

Michigan is a great school academically and athletically. It really would be a great opportunity. I already feel like I’m pretty close with Coach Mallory. I had a brief conversation with Coach Hoke on Saturday during my visit but Coach Mallory is my main contact.

Fitzgerald admitted to following the Illilni growing up in Champaign but he’s grown to like a lot of other schools realizing that they all have something different to offer a student athlete. He didn’t mention any specific schools as a leader or an early favorite, rather he said his main focus right now is just working hard in the weight room and concentrating on his studies.

Fitzgerald is nowhere near a decision at this point in his recruitment but he did say he will commit whenever it feels right. He is very serious about his academics and that is going to factor in just as much if not more than his athletic desires. It is worth noting that his grandmother is a Michigan graduate so he does have some Wolverine blood in him.

Fitzgerald is actually listed as a dual-threat quarterback on Rivals but on film his mobility appears slightly above average. He’s not going to run all over the place but he can move the chains and keep a defense honest. He seems to be pretty high on the quarterback board as Coach Mallory and Coach Borges have already made plans to watch him throw again next week. He is definitely an offer possibility.

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It appears that the Michigan coaches are focusing in on about 4-6 quarterbacks in the 2015 class and Gentry and Fitzgerald appear to be two of them. I still believe the rest of the list consists of Kyle Kearns, Riley Neal, Nick Johns, and Alex Malzone. If the coaches approach the quarterback position like they did last year we are still about two months away from finding out who will claim the #2 spot behind a Cali-school-bound Josh Rosen.

Comments

GoWings2008

December 4th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

the size and ability the coaching staff is after and I love it.  The mobility factor and those 40 times are very encouraging.  Seem like good kids, too.

Too bad Josh Rosen is headed to a Cali school...UM has a great medical school, because its clear he's destined to be a doctor.

Ron Utah

December 4th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

Every guy we've offered has at least decent mobility, and some are pretty good runners

Zach Gentry looks like an amazing prospect.  We'll have much tougher competition for him than Louisville before it's all said and done.  He has a cannon arm but still throws with good touch, can throw on the run, and can flat out run.  With his size, he should be durable.

Gentry might be favorite prospect right now.  Kearns is probably second, simply because as a pure thrower, I think he is the best of the bunch.

aplatypus

December 4th, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

They have a solid local 2014 QB commit in the mold of Bridgewater, and already have a 2015 QB commit in Ross Trail who's a 247 top 20 QB and 4 star prospect. They'll probably still keep in touch with other 2015 kids but unless Trail decommits I don't think they'll go after other QBs too hard.

Victor Hale II

December 4th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

Gentry must be high on UM's board, because it's obvious they sent Fred Jackson out to see him: "A few college coaches have told Gentry that he reminds them of a more athletic Ryan Mallett with his big frame and strong arm."

Leaders and Best 21

December 4th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

Any particular reason why he has zero interest in Michigan? I mean we offered him very early and I thought it would at least give us a puncher's chance but I guess not. Kid looks great on film. Best of luck to him wherever he goes.

aplatypus

December 4th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

I only watched a little bit of the hudl clips but it looks to me like he's got kind of an awkward release. Could be limited sample, but looked to me like he starts the ball pretty low and kind of has a hitch and shoulder dip at the back of his release. Not really a big deal with his size, but he doesn't immediately look like a pure passer IMHO.

madmaxweb

December 4th, 2013 at 1:11 PM ^

Who is the Cali QB who had high interest in Michigan? I think Swedish kid? Can't remember his name for the life of me. BBrown, any chance of him being Blue? It sounded like he would be a really highly ranked kid IIRC

alum96

December 4th, 2013 at 4:01 PM ^

I have no idea on how any of these kids will turn out, nor Shane or Wilton, but I find it interesting many who have dismay with Borges as an OC have absolutely no reticence that almost all the QB recruiting is coming down to his judgement of what Michigan needs.  It is the most important position in sports and it can take a good team to elite ala Winston.  Now obviously Winston was "obvious" as a top overall recruit but a part of me is very worried that this position has been apparently completely outsourced for Borges to judge.  And I get he has coached some good QBs at other schools but I have no idea who made the final decisions at those schools on which player to offer but I doubt very seriously it was all handed to Borges as sole decider.

Magnus

December 4th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

IIRC, Jeff Hecklinski was the one who watched Speight throw last year before he was offered. If it wasn't Speight, it was one of the other top guys (Cornwell, maybe). So I don't think Borges is the only guy involved from that evidence, and I also know that the coaches get together and look at film of guys together before they extend offers. If Dillman gets offered, Borges isn't the only one signing off on it.

A_Maize_Zing

December 4th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

it would all depend on two things with Dillman.

1.     I think they want to get an established passer committed to the program before they take a gamble on an athlete who has a very awkward release (not sure on arm strength).  They get a solid passer I can see them trying to pull that kid in as an athlete.

2.     How does the kid feel about the possibility of changing positions?  If he feels that he must be a quarterback, he might be disappointed if there isn’t room for him there.

 

I would agree that he looks like such a strong runner that you want to get that type of kid in the program and it gives you another commit from California.  Personally I would want to offer him just to make sure he doesn’t sign with Urban Meyer or Rich Rodriguez. They have a history of taking poor passers that can run and making them excellent college players.

Magnus

December 4th, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

The coaches wouldn't recruit a player - let a lone a quarterback - just to keep him away from another school. If Michigan's coaching staff doesn't see him as a good fit for their program, they're not going to waste a scholarship. There are only 85 of those things to go around and just 3-5 for quarterbacks.

93Grad

December 4th, 2013 at 4:57 PM ^

that's an underwhelming list of targets.  Few if any major offers among them and most appear to be middling 3 star types.  We are putting a lot of faith in Borges to get these QB offers right, which, you know....