ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The recruitment of Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry went up a couple of notches Friday.
With that, we welcome to the party the University of Alabama.
The Crimson Tide and coach Nick Saban on Friday afternoon became the latest Division I program to offer Gentry a scholarship. Alabama is the highest-profile school to date to recruit Gentry.
“It was a normal day. Wake up, have my breakfast, go to school, and all of a sudden I have an offer from Alabama,” Gentry said. “Makes your head spin a little bit.”
Saban, college football’s most recognizable and successful coach, offered Gentry over a 20-minute phone conversation.
“It was kind of awesome to talk to him,” said the 6-foot-7 Gentry, a junior. “It was kind of surreal to talk to a guy like that, someone as highly regarded as him.”
Not that Saban necessarily needed to expound on the virtues of coming to Tuscaloosa, he nevertheless had his pitch ready for Gentry.
“He just went over the obvious things first, like the success of the program over the last few years,” Gentry said. “Also the tradition, the facilities, how quickly they send guys to the NFL, how often they send guys to the NFL, their academic excellence. It’s a top-level program.”
Lane Kiffin, Alabama’s new offensive coordinator, arranged the talk. And Kiffin, Gentry said, is going to try to get to Albuquerque this spring to meet with Gentry in person.
Gentry said he didn’t have any inkling of how serious Alabama was until Thursday.
“I routinely got letters from them, but besides that, there wasn’t anything,” Gentry said.
Gentry said Saban and Kiffin watched game film on the Eagles’ elusive, strong-armed QB.
“I like their offense,” Gentry said of the Tide, “because it’s a pro style. We’ll see what kind of twist coach Kiffin brings.”
In addition to Alabama, the following schools have all offered Gentry: Tennessee, Louisville, San Diego State, Maryland, TCU, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, New Mexico and New Mexico State.
The most recent schools before Alabama to offer Gentry were TCU and Maryland.
Gentry said he plans to unofficially visit two or three schools this spring, and hopes to take some official visits in the fall.
“I’d like to visit every school,” he said, “but financially, it’ll be tough.”