So we are finally here, the final Small school sleeper profile before the 2017 NFL Draft, kicks off this Thursday. In the spirit of the city of Philadelphia, we decided to wrap our series up with one of the hardest working, most underrated prospects in the whole draft process. University of Sioux Falls, LB/DE, Evan Gentry!
When watching the game tape on Gentry, you see a guy who gets it. Someone who is quick off the ball, can set the edge in the run game, and is athletic enough to play in coverage. Despite these outstanding traits what is most impressive about Gentry and his style of play, is his motor. Sure, on the field he is almost Jared Allen like, with his pure power and speed to give chase and run down opposing offensive weapons, but it is his motor in life that is his biggest attribute.
Dealt a harsh blow at the tender age of 10, Evan lost his mother (Stephanie), but instead of using it an excuse, Evan and his family took the hit, and kept on moving.
“Yeah, me and my brother (Drew) take every opportunity to honor my mother. I always think about Drew’s final game with us, after he transferred from East Carolina, we were lined up in victory formation, and we got to play next to each other to finish his career. We dedicate everything to our mom, and that moment was important to the both of us, we like to think she was looking down smiling, on us.
When she passed, and up until now, and forever I keep her in my heart, but the way I was raised she and my father would not be okay if I just sat and soaked about it. It hurts when I think of it, as it should, but I could never sit and do nothing, I owe it to her and to my family to be the best version of me. On the field, or in college, or just in anyway in life, I owe it to her to work my butt off and keeping her in the back of my mind has been a blessing, it keeps me pushing.”
A Tallahassee, FL, native many were shocked, by Gentry’s, decision to play collegiately at the University of Sioux Falls. He spoke about his choice, and playing football at a school considered “small” by some.
“Yeah there were some questions when I choice to play here in Sioux Falls, but I love it. For me, I needed to go somewhere that I felt comfortable. Some where that felt like home to me, and that is what I got here. The minute I got on the campus I knew I wanted to be here. There was something about it, and still is, and honestly I wouldn’t of changed it for the world. Obviously I love it, I talked my brother in to coming here, from East Carolina, that’s a bigger school by comparison, but he loved it here as well, so there are never regrets about it.
As far as playing at a school considered small, I could care less about what people think. I could really care less, I am playing ball, you know? Football is football at the end of the day, and that is what I signed up to do, to come out here and play. When you get the pads on, you understand. There are some good players that come out of these “smaller Schools”, and they have thrived in the NFL.
I am sure you hear it all the time, but look at it. I could name tons of guys. They understood football is football, and at the end of the day, We have to go out there and perform. There are guys all the time that come from the bigger colleges and don’t pan out, so it is the same thing.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter where you play college ball, when you get that call, you get that shot, you have to make the best of it. You still have to go out there and perform, bust your butt and do your thing, you still have to work your butt off, or they are letting you go. That is how I look at it.”
The 6’3, 255 pounder, racked up 129 tackles, 36.5 for loss, 16 sacks, 2 FF, and a recovery, in his college career. So he did what you’re supposed to do,when you are considered a “big fish, in a small pond”.
The Eagles, need for defensive playmakers is on top of their list going into the Draft weekend. With his combination of size, speed, and pure athleticism, Gentry could serve as a huge find for the Birds’. He has been compared to future hall of famers, Jared Allen, of the Kansas City Chiefs and Trent Cole, of our beloved Eagles, for a reason, and if he can become half the players they are. The birds’ could have a real difference maker for years to come.
Mandatory Photo Credit: ALM