Gentry Proving to be Dominant Force with Career Day

zach gentry michigan tight end

Gentry Proving to be Dominant Force with Career Day

Football

Gentry Proving to be Dominant Force with Career Day

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan tight end Zach Gentry had a career day on Saturday, having the most catches (7) and yards (112) of his career. It was also the 10th consecutive game that Gentry has pulled in a reception.

The more that the 6-foot-8, 265-pound converted quarterback sees the field, the more productive he’s become. His contribution doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet — his big first down at Northwestern which put Michigan in position to secure the lead in the 4th quarter — but on days like Saturday, his talent is undeniable.

Six games in, Gentry has 194 yards on 13 receptions, and when targeted, has the look of a player who could be a game-changer.

That’s certainly how his quarterback sees it.

As Shea Patterson continues to become more comfortable in Michigan’s system, the more he seems to like throwing to Gentry. While the two had one major disconnect against Maryland — a ball that bounced off Gentry’s hands and into the arms of a Terrapins defender — the rapport between the two is growing.

Patterson likens Gentry’s emerging talent to the best tight end playing the game anywhere at any level. And, if he continues to develop, Patterson might not be wrong once Gentry’s career comes to a close.

“Oh yeah, Zach’s my boy,” Patterson said. “One of the first people I met, and one of the guys that really took me in when I first came here. He’s a heckuva target. You can really put it anywhere. 6-8, fast, too. Kind of like Gronk out there, if you watch him. He’s gonna play this game for a long time. I’m just excited I can throw the ball to him.”

His head coach is also pleased with his progress.

Jim Harbaugh, though, isn’t just ecstatic about Gentry’s ability to catch the ball — though he is still effusive in his praise in that regard. But he’s just as happy with his blocking and willingness to put his body on the line even when the hit is coming — and still come down with the football.

It all started this past offseason, when Ben Herbert and the new strength and conditioning staff came to Ann Arbor, Harbaugh says.

“The way he’s grown most is probably putting on 40 pounds of muscle,” Harbaugh said. “He’s grown so much as a blocker. He’s grown as a hands catcher. He’s able to pluck the ball out of the air with the hands. He’s got a great frame and a target catch radius, but also makes the tight body throw catch – contested catch. Guys on him, draped on him, and those are tough catches to make.

“That was a lot right there. He’s really worked hard to get strength, development. He’s done a great job as a blocker. And catching and running routes. Everything you want a tight end to be, he’s really growing into the prototypical type of tight end.”

We’ll see if Gentry’s emergence plays a key factor going forward. With his height, ability to block and catch, he’s becoming more and more unguardable.

And Michigan needs him to be, with Wisconsin coming to town for a night game this next Saturday.

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