It appears that Jim Harbaugh is determined to succeed where men like Nick Saban failed.
The Zach Gentry sweepstakes are not over.
The Journal has confirmed that Harbaugh, the former San Francisco 49ers head coach and new head coach at the University of Michigan — and, let’s not forget, the man who helped transform Andrew Luck at Stanford into a No. 1 draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts — was in Albuquerque earlier this week to visit the Eldorado High senior quarterback.
“He was here Monday,” Eldorado High coach Charlie Dotson said of Harbaugh.
Chatsports.com reported that Harbaugh went to Gentry’s home on Monday.
Another knowledgeable source told the Journal that Gentry is planning a visit to Ann Arbor later this week. But that information could not immediately be verified.
Gentry has been firm in his decision to attend the University of Texas since he announced the news in May. Agreeing to meet Harbaugh is certainly a major shift. Is it a sign Gentry is wavering on the Longhorns? Or that he has changed his mind completely and de-committed from Texas?
That Gentry agreed to see Harbaugh almost certainly means that other schools will now actively join the fray in a last-ditch effort to obtain Gentry.
The clock is ticking. National signing day is Feb. 4 — less than two weeks away.
Efforts to reach Gentry Wednesday were unsuccessful.
The news on Harbaugh’s visit was spreading like wildfire, and dominos are tumbling.
ESPN.com’s SEC blogger, Jeremy Crabtree, reported Wednesday that Kyler Murray, considered by some the nation’s top dual-threat prep quarterback, took a surprise unofficial visit to Texas on Wednesday.
Murray has previously committed to Texas A&M. Whether his surprise visit to Austin was related to Gentry’s visit with Harbaugh is unknown.
Also, the son of former UNM football coach Mike Locksley, Kai, is scheduled to visit Texas this weekend, according to reports. Kai Locksley is a high school quarterback in Maryland and a Florida State commit who briefly played at La Cueva.
Gentry’s choice to go to Texas was perhaps as much a commitment to Longhorns coach Charlie Strong as it was anything else. Strong began recruiting Gentry when he was still Louisville’s head coach.
Gentry, one of the highest-profile prep QBs in the country because of his size — 6-feet-7 and 238 pounds — and his unusual athleticism, speed and pro-style upside, was recruited from one coast to the other by some of the country’s top programs.
That included Alabama and Saban, who had Gentry down to Tuscaloosa. But Gentry turned Saban down, as he did everyone else.
Word broke on Tuesday that Michigan was involved. Harbaugh was Luck’s head coach at Stanford, and Harbaugh himself was a quarterback in the NFL for nearly a decade and a half.
Hookemheadlines.com had a story on its site that said Gentry “is not a recruit the Longhorns can afford to lose.” Gentry is UT’s only verbally committed quarterback in the 2015 recruiting class, according to the site.
Gentry was named New Mexico’s Gatorade Player of the Year for 2014. He threw for 2,978 yards and 26 touchdowns, and ran for 1,057 yards and 22 additional scores. He led the Eagles into the Class 6A semifinals, where they fell to eventual state champion Rio Rancho.
Reportedly, Texas quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson has developed a strong bond with Gentry since Gentry committed to Texas.