ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Like any relationship, the element of time is a valuable commodity.
So it was on Monday when Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry said yes to the University of Texas and spurned everyone else, including Nick Saban and Alabama.
“Our pre-existing relationship helped,” Gentry said of his decision to choose the Longhorns over a host of prominent national suitors. “Their loyalty meant a lot.”
In the grand scheme of things, Texas was a late comer to the Gentry trail.
But the Longhorns new head coach, Charlie Strong, and UT’s assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, have been chasing Gentry for more than a year, since both were at Louisville.
Louisville was among the first to offer Gentry a scholarship. On Monday, Gentry said he’ll trade Eldorado burnt orange for, well, identical Texas orange.
The combination of Strong and Watson’s offensive philosophy, combined with the lure of trying to restore Texas to national prominence, was potent.
“I like the offense they run. I think it fits me perfectly,” Gentry said of the pro-style attack. “I think they have a really good run-pass balance, and a lot of concepts they use are concepts that are used in the NFL. And I prefer to sit in the pocket a little bit.”
To that end, Gentry said the decision to play for the Longhorns was part of his blueprint to possibly compete at the highest level.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” said the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Gentry.
The fleet-footed, strong-armed Gentry was considered one of the major QB prizes in the Class of 2015.
Among ESPN’s top 300 prospects list for 2015, Gentry is rated No. 72 overall. From that same list, he is ranked as the second-best pocket passer in the country.
Gentry also has tremendous mobility for someone who is 6-7, but he said he knows he must limit the number of hits he takes.
The Longhorns’ last two stellar QBs, Vince Young and Colt McCoy, both led Texas into the BCS national championship game. Texas’ last BCS title game appearance was after the 2009 season.
“If you look at Texas,” Gentry said, “they have struggled the last few years, but they have all the elements in place to be a successful program. They can be as good as they want to be, and they have all the resources they need.”
Gentry already seems sure to be remembered as one of New Mexico’s premier prep throwing QBs, along side the likes of Eldorado’s Jim Everett (Purdue) and Artesia’s Landry Jones (Oklahoma).
He had a who’s-who of Division I programs nipping at his heels. Texas won the recruiting battle over Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, Gentry said. Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffen was just in Albuquerque last Friday to watch Gentry for the first time.
In Austin, if and when Gentry is the starter, he’ll instantly become one of the most famous people in the state of Texas.
“I don’t think there’s a huge deal to have that kind of spotlight on me,” Gentry said, adding, “I’m relieved and glad (the process is over). I made the right decision and I’m glad the craziness is kind of wrapping up.”
Gentry will officially sign his national letter of intent next February. He threw for 1,587 yards and nine touchdowns for the Eagles last season.
Gentry took an unofficial visit to both Texas and Alabama during spring break last month.