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Eric Gentry is a National Freshman of the Year Candidate

Nov 9, 2021

PHILADELPHIA - Sun Devil Football linebacker Eric Gentry earned a spot on the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced this week.

Ever since arriving in Tempe, Gentry has stood out, whether it be due to his 6-foot-6 frame and 86-inch wingspan, or because of his play on the field. The Philadelphia native has worked his way up the depth chart, earning more reps throughout the season. Because of his immediate impact, Gentry has garnered attention as a candidate for a national award.

The Maxwell Football Club revealed the watch list for the 4th annual Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award, presented to the outstanding freshman player in college football. For the first time, this year, the award will be presented at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala along with several of the other top awards in college and professional football. Gentry's inclusion on this Watch List comes after he was named a Midseason Freshman All-American by The Athletic in late October.
 

The Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award has been presented to the College Freshman Player of the Year since 2018 and is named in honor of Shaun Alexander, a former standout at the University of Alabama and with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. Past winners include; Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) - 2018, Kenneth Gainwell (Memphis)-2019 and Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama) – 2020.

The Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award watch list incorporates a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences from coast to coast, with 37 candidates recognized. Ten Semifinalists for the Shaun Alexander Award will be announced December 2, 2021, while 3 finalists for the award will be unveiled December 21, 2021. The winner of the 2021 Shaun Alexander Award will be announced on Monday January 10, 2022. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel &Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2022.

In his first season with the Sun Devils, Gentry has played in all nine games and collected 25 tackles, three tackles for loss, and two pass breakups. His combination of size and athleticism has caused opposing offenses fits, with his length effecting passing lanes and making it difficult for him to be blocked.

The most memorable play of his freshman campaign came in ASU's 42-23 victory over then No. 20 UCLA, as he came through with a huge tackle for loss on a fourth down play when UCLA was deep in Sun Devil territory. Gentry got his first career start in the game against Stanford, filling in for Kyle Soelle (targeting). He recorded a career-high six tackles and added a pass breakup in the game against Washington State.

Not only has he been productive on the field, he has graded out extremely well according to the experts. PFF has him rated as the third-best linebacker in the conference through week ten (74.5), trailing only Utah's Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell. He is narrowly ahead of teammate Darien Butler, as the Sun Devils boast two of the four highest graded players at the position in the Pac-12. Out of all true freshmen in FBS with at least 150 defensive snaps, Gentry is the second highest graded linebacker in the country overall on defense and highest graded one among true freshman Power Five linebackers. His 75.6 score on run defense is second among FBS freshmen linebackers as well.

SHAUN ALEXANDER AWARD WATCH LIST 
Eric Gentry Arizona State LB
Konata Mumpfield Akron WR
Jarquez Hunter Auburn RB
Campbell Barrington BYU OT
Will Shipley Clemson RB
Andrew Mukuba Clemson S
Jack Howell Colorado State S
Brock Bowers Georgia TE
Kelee Ringo Georgia CB
Connor Colby Iowa OG
Lukas Van Ness Iowa DT
Montrell Johnson Louisiana RB
Jack Bech LSU TE
Maason Smith LSU DE
Rasheen Ali Marshall RB
Seth Henigan Memphis QB
Tyler Van Dyke Miami QB
James Williams Miami S
Cal Haladay Michigan State LB
Joe Alt Notre Dame OT
C.J. Stroud Ohio State QB
TreVeyon Henderson Ohio State RB
Tyleik Williams Ohio State DT
Denzel Burke Ohio State CB
Caleb Williams Oklahoma QB
Mario Williams Oklahoma WR
Collin Oliver Oklahoma State DE
Duce Chestnut Syracuse CB
Xavier Worthy Texas WR
Bryce Foster Texas A&M C
Reuben Fatheree Texas A&M OT
Tyreek Chappell Texas A&M CB
Maxen Hook Toledo S
Calen Bullock USC S
DeVonte Gordon Wake Forest OT
Jalen McMillan Washington WR
Braelon Allen Wisconsin RB

UP NEXT
Gentry and the rest of the Sun Devils will start a two-game road trip beginning on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. MST when they travel to Washington. The game will be televised on FS1, with Dan Hellie and Petros Papadakis on the call.