The Texas Longhorns are still pursuing a signal-caller in the 2015 recruiting class and have expanded that search into New Mexico with a Monday offer for Albuquerque Eldorado pro-style quarterback Zach Gentry, per multiple reports.
At 6'6 and 230 pounds, Gentry has prototypical size for a pocket passer and ranks as a consensus four-star prospect, though he is ranked at 90 by 247Sports and sits at .9004 in the 247Sports Composite rankings, making him a low four-star recruit. The top player in the state of New Mexico, Gentry is the No. 9 pro-style passer and the No. 269 player nationally in the Composite.
With about 15 offers, Gentry is a national prospect. Alabama, Louisville, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, San Diego State, TCU, Tennessee, and Virginia have all offered.
Gentry's timeline doesn't indicate when he received his offer from Louisville, but he did camp there last summer, so assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson is familiar with Gentry and has at least some prior relationship with the big passer.
In the 247Sports Crystal Ball projections, Tennessee is the current favorite after spending some time in Albuquerque recruiting Gentry in December and January, while Oklahoma State may or may not still be in the mix after taking quarterback John Kolar out of Norman (Okla.) North in early March.
There aren't many prospects to come out of the state in a given year, as Gentry is the first Texas target from New Mexico since offensive tackle Matt Hegarty in the 2011 class, a player who was also targeted by the Longhorns but ended up signing with the Fighting Irish. Not entirely coincidentally, Gentry is also the first four-star prospect from the Land of Enchantment since Hegarty.
With a lack of appealing options available in state, it's worth recruiting there on the rare occasions when a high-quality prospect does emerge.
On film, Gentry is a good athlete at the position for a pro-style passer, running for 617 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior with reported 4.68 40 speed, though he looks closer to the verified 5.02 40 that star California quarterback Josh Rosen registered at a Nike event.
Whatever his actual testing speed, Gentry is certainly not a pocket-pound passer despite his designation and has some make-you-miss ability in the open field. His height can also make the speed that he does have a little bit more deceptive, as he covers quite a bit of ground with each stride. In college, his mobility will be an asset in making off-schedule plays with his arm moving outside the pocket and moving the pocket on designed rollouts and bootlegs more so than running the zone read series.
And Eldorado moved the pocket quite a bit in 2013, utilizing Gentry's athleticism and probably covering up some deficiencies on the offensive line as well. On the run, Gentry shows of his above-average pure arm strength moving in either direction, doing a nice job of clearing his hips to throw while moving to his left.
The arm talent of Gentry is perhaps more apparent at times than it should be, as he can resort to throwing off his back foot. When given a clean pocket, however, his footwork is adequate and he's able to make a range of throws, from darts into small windows to the type of touch passes that every quarterback has to make, whether a fade route into the end zone or a lofted pass over an underneath defender.
He can drop his arm slot at times, but otherwise his mechanics are without major flaws in his throwing motion.
Other than Texas Tech commit Jarrett Stidham, a true dual-threat quarterback, there aren't any big quarterbacks currently ranked in the state -- the tallest is incoming Denton Guyer transfer Kevin Dillman, a California native who is extremely raw as a passer.
So the offer to Gentry suggests that the staff values the pure size of Gentry and the passing lanes afforded to him because he's four inches taller than West Mesquite's Chason Virgil, the tallest of the uncommitted quarterbacks in the state with an offer from the Horns.
Since Watson already has a relationship with Gentry, that should help negate the relative lateness of the offer and the proximity of Texas to New Mexico could mean that he's more familiar with the program since there aren't in-state schools to follow seriously, so the Horns may have a chance in this one.