Watch Michigan QBs throw at Peach Bowl practice in Atlanta on Dec. 26, 2018.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
ATLANTA — Michigan football’s fourth-year junior tight end Zach Gentry still is undecided about whether he’ll declare for the 2019 NFL Draft or return to Ann Arbor for a fifth year.
Gentry, a 6-foot-8, 262-pound tight end from New Mexico, had a career year in 2018 with 17 catches for 303 yards and two touchdowns.
He says he has received his draft grade from the NFL advisory board, but he’s still torn on what to do.
“I’m not really worried about or concerned about it until after (the Peach Bowl on Saturday against Florida),” Gentry told reporters Thursday in Atlanta, the site of the Peach Bowl. “I just want to make sure that I put everything I have into the game for myself and for the team. And make sure both I and the team perform at the highest level I can.”
Offensively, junior guard Ben Bredeson has said he intends to return to school.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 14 to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Gentry says he sees benefits to both sides of the choice.
“There’s always little nuances and stuff, you can always improve with blocking, pass blocking, route running, finishing plays,” he said. “I really am (undecided).”
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson announced last week that he’ll return for a senior season. He has been recruiting Gentry to return to school next season.
They are roommates this week at the Peach Bowl, and Gentry says he can see the benefits of having one more year in college with an experienced quarterback in Jim Harbaugh’s offense.
“Shea, that makes a big difference for us. Another year in this system with Shea Patterson would be unbelievable,” Gentry said. “He’s going to be more comfortable than ever. That’s a big thing.”
Gentry’s finish to the regular season was less than ideal, as he was plagued by dropped passes in Michigan’s 62-39 loss at Ohio State.
Still, he’s a long-striding tight end with good speed and the ability to block at the line of scrimmage. An every-down prospect, Gentry will — at some point — have a role in the NFL. Whether or not it’s next year remains to be seen.
Michigan is expected to return Sean McKeon and Nick Eubanks next season. The Wolverines also redshirted freshmen Mustapha Muhammad and Luke Schoonmaker this season.
For now, Gentry’s focused on the bowl game.
He says the OSU loss lingered for him in large part because of social-media venom.
“The reason it hung around so much for me was a lot of people bringing it up. A lot of turmoil in the quote ‘fanbase,’ getting a lot of stuff via social media. Deleted the Twitter, had to stay away from some of that stuff. Which was pretty unbelievable,” Gentry said. “Some pretty bad stuff. … Disappointing stuff I’ll say. It comes with the game, so whatever. But, yeah, it took a little longer to get over (the OSU loss). It’s motivated me and made me work harder.”
Contact Nick Baumgardner: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickBaumgardner.