Vols' history, tradition impress Gentry

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If there's a position in sports where teams must have talent and smarts to be successful, it's at quarterback.

After Tennessee signed Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson with the 2013 class, it looks like the coaching staff in Knoxville will not sign a field general in the 2014 class. Between that fact and the impending graduation of Justin Worley, adding a talent in the 2015 group is imperative.

One possible solution to it all is Zach Gentry.

The Scout four-star prospect from Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, N.M., picked up a Tennessee scholarship offer in December.

"I was amazed first of all at the fact that something like that would happen to me in the first place," Gentry told InsideTennessee. "I would say that I appreciate that more than anything to have that offer. But, I think that a lot of people are pretty surprised that this kid from New Mexico got a Tennessee offer. I think a lot of people kind of turn their head when they think about New Mexico and everything but deep down I feel I am athletic enough to get offers like that. So, it's something I think I deserve. I've been working hard and everything. So, it's not really a surprise to me, but it is."

Football players 1,400 miles west of Knoxville don't always know too much about Big Orange football but Gentry respects the Vols program.

"Just the history and the tradition," he said. "It's a great school, great fanbase, a lot of history, a lot of tradition both coaching-wise and player-wise. So, I just couldn't believe (the offer). It really was an amazing feeling."

He's been educating himself on possibly playing on The Hill, including taking a look at the weapons the Vols have coming in both his class and the one prior.

"I think it's a big factor," Gentry said. "Shortly after my offer I really started looking into it. I didn't realize just how strong the recruiting classes at Tennessee were. Both 2014 and 2015 they have some big-time skill position guys coming in. Doing more research, they have some offensive linemen committed as well. So, the recruiting classes are looking really strong. That's definitely something that I've been looking into and thinking about."

The current Tennessee roster contains four scholarship quarterbacks. Some of those make plays outside of the pocket. Gentry, who claims a 4.68 40-yard dash time, says he has skills to do so as well.

"Yeah, I think so. That's something I would really love to do because I think a lot of people forget that I'm mobile with my size and my stature. That's something that I'd love to showcase. That's something I'm definitely comfortable doing."

Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian started building a relationship with Gentry several weeks ago.

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"We try to talk once a week," Gentry said of Bajakian. "I like him a lot; I think he's a really good guy. I watched Tennessee a lot last season. I thought he ran a really good system. I think he's done a really great job. I like him as a person. So far, I like him as a coach. I'm going to try to maybe get up this spring to Tennessee to meet him."

Last summer, the No. 23 QB in the 2015 class camped at Arkansas, Florida and Louisville. The Cardinals placed a scholarship offer on the table immediately.

Gentry, who's in the middle of his basketball season, also has offers from New Mexico, New Mexico State and San Diego State. Florida has spoken with him and Oregon has shown interest.

The 6-foot-6, 232-pounder grew up a fan of college football, no school in particular. He admits he's a Green Bay Packers fan and looks up to future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

Back on Oct. 19, Gentry was NMHSCA All-Metro Athlete of the Week after completing 20 of 25 passes for 143 yards and running for 109 more on 17 attempts with four total touchdowns.

He carries a 3.8 grade point average and is undecided on a major. Sam Gentry, Zach's brother, is a backup quarterback and punter at New Mexico. He's a 6-5, 244-pound redshirt freshman.

Join the discussion on the four-star quarterback's recruitment by clicking here.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the Scout team July 2011.
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