THE RECRUITING GUY:

Houston running back bonds with Traylor

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, June 7, 2019
Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor throws a football during warmups prior to the Razorbacks' game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Starkville, Miss.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor throws a football during warmups prior to the Razorbacks' game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Starkville, Miss.

University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris and associate head coach and running backs coach Jeff Traylor were the first to extend a scholarship offer to running back target John Gentry, and he hasn't forgotten.

"It was big to me, especially when they stayed in contact," Gentry said. "With them talking to me everyday, I know they're making me a priority."

John Gentry highlights

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Gentry, 5-11, 180 pounds of Houston North Shore narrowed his list of schools to Arkansas, UNLV, Houston, Utah State and Wyoming on Tuesday. He and others are expected to officially visit Fayetteville on Wednesday through June 14.

The Hogs offered him Sept. 5. He and Traylor have formed a strong bond.

"That's my guy," Gentry said. "He calls me, we talk everyday, we text everyday. He's always checking on me making sure I'm good. He's a good man and I really respect him for that."

Gentry also runs track and has a best of 10.72 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.6 seconds in the 200. He also runs a leg on the 400- and 800-meter relay teams. His numbers in the weight room include a 295-pound bench press, 595 squat and 315 squat.

He had 1,300 all-purpose yards and more than 20 touchdowns as a junior to help lead the Mustangs to a 16-0 record and the Class 6A Division I state championship.

North Shore defeated Duncanville 41-36 on a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown as time expired in the title game. The play was the lead story on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Gentry, who had a 33-yard touchdown reception in the game, sees the title game benefiting the team in the fall.

"It was a great experience for the whole team especially the returning players who will contribute to this upcoming season," Gentry said. "I believe that it will motivate and encourage them to have a will to win no matter what it takes."

He and his parents visited Arkansas for the Red-White spring game in April. Gentry is looking forward to seeing more of the school and learning more about the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the upcoming visit.

The visit will allow Gentry to reunite with Arkansas freshman defensive lineman Collin Clay from Oklahoma City. The two families have gotten to know each other in the last few years.

His father Johnny Gentry III and mother Jenice celebrated 22 years of marriage on April 26. The elder Gentry is the senior pastor at Free Indeed Church in Houston, while Clay's father Robert is also a pastor.

"Clay's dad actually preached at our church about three years ago," Johnny Gentry said.

The younger Clay, who reported to Fayetteville for the first summer school session on May 28, has been recruiting Gentry.

"That's my man," said the younger Gentry. "He's always talking to me. Tweeting me, DMing me or texting me about Arkansas and talking about joining."

Clay's recruiting pitch started as soon as Gentry received the offer from the Hogs.

"He was trying to get me to join way back when," Gentry said. "We've become good friends after that."

The people of Fayetteville were one of several things that impressed the elder Gentry during the family's visit for the spring game.

"Number one was Fayetteville, the city from the time we landed to the time we left, it was one of the friendliest towns I've ever visited in the U.S.," Johnny Gentry said. "We were really impressed with the people."

Morris, Traylor and others on the staff also caught his attention.

"Another thing that stood out was Coach Morris, Coach Traylor, just their sincerity," Johnny Gentry said. "I would say the coaching staff how genuine and sincere they appeared and have been so since."

Gentry, who played football at Santa Clara University, reminds his son to focus on his faith, humility and well being.

"I have a saying that John is probably tired of me saying, but I have a saying, 'Stay holy, stay humble, stay healthy, stay hydrated'," Gentry said laughing of the latter.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 06/07/2019

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