If you've ever spent significant time at a blackjack table, you probably know about the one move that will leave a dealer openly scoffing at your gambling moves -- splitting tens.
Splitting tens is a rookie mistake, one that will leave your dealer announcing it to other dealers and bosses in the pit without you knowing why. It's mistake number one in the "Blackjack For Dummies" handbook. You don't split tens when it's clear you have a winning hand.
Former Texas quarterback commit Zach Gentry, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound prospect from Albuquerque with a 4.6 40-yard dash time, was by all intents and purposes, a winning hand. The four-star recruit was the eighth-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2015, per 247's Composite rankings. He threw for 2,978 yards and 26 touchdowns, and he also ran for 1,057 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season at Eldorado High.
Texas offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and Charlie Strong were the first staff from a major college to give him an offer. They obviously saw significant potential in Gentry, who would've had an opportunity to start at Texas from the first day he set foot on campus. Gentry appeared to be excited about heading to Austin. He used his position to help recruit other prospects to Texas, had social media profiles decked out in burnt orange and was considered a staple recruit in the 2015 class.
But the Longhorns' offensive struggles in 2014 required immediate scheme changes, a scheme that Gentry didn't feel comfortable playing in. Combined with the fact that a successful, influential former NFL coach was waiting at his doorstep with plane tickets to Ann Arbor and by halftime of Michigan's basketball game on Gentry's official visit to UM and he was a Wolverine.
Meanwhile, in Austin, Strong and Co. were going full-court press on Allen High quarterback and A&M commit Kyler Murray and FSU commit Kai Locksley. Because of this, recruiting momentum in Austin was reaching unprecedented levels. Texas was now in play for five-star Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack and Cedar Hill wide receiver DeMarkus Lodge. Tallahassee, Fl., wide receiver John Burt, who was considered a lost cause because of his interest Auburn, reaffirmed his commitment.
But with all of the swings in recruiting momentum, there is still a significant chance Texas walks away from National Signing Day without a quarterback. Rivals recruiting reported this morning that Locksley's in-home visit with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher went very well, and Locksley remains a FSU lean. Locksley's father, Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, was impressed with Fisher's ability to develop quarterbacks -- most notably EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston. Texas coach Charlie Strong will have one last opportunity to sell UT to the Locksleys this week, but as Orangebloods is reporting, they could be facing an uphill battle:
Unless Strong comes in and really blows the family away, it seems right now Kai is inclined to stick with FSU but anything can happen following an in home visit.
Murray is even more of a wild card. The A&M commit and son of former Aggie great Kevin Murray is one of the top rated baseball recruits in the country, with some projecting him as a potential first round draft pick. The rumors circulating around Murray include problems between his father and A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, but some have reported this week that the two have sorted out those issues and Murray is once again solid in his commitment.
Strong will get his last in-home visit this Friday, but even if Charlie sways Murray to Texas, Murray will still be looking at a six-figure contract when the Major League Baseball draft rolls around. Lone Star Ball explains what kind of money Murray could be looking at here.
Should Texas have been more careful with Zach Gentry? Letting him walk was a lot easier to swallow a week ago than it is today. Even if there was always a chance Harbaugh was going to steal him away, with hindsight being 20/20, Texas split tens on Gentry and landed two 16s with Murray and Locksley. They'll have to hit on both, and might get lucky, but could also lose big. It makes for a more fun, but more stressful, NSD week.
Even with the momentum that the Murray and Lodge visit created eight days ago, walking away from National Signing Day with the same sized question-mark at quarterback that existed on Dec. 29 in Houston is not ideal for the Longhorns.