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Eric Gentry Named to Maxwell Freshman All-American List

The Arizona State Sun Devils' freshman linebacker, despite being buried on a depth chart that featured veteran players, shined when his number was called and earned freshman All-American honors by the Maxwell Club this week.

In AllSunDevils' series of previews for the 2021 Arizona State Sun Devils season, one of our freshman spotlights was awarded to Eric Gentry, a 6-foot-6 defender that was thought to have the capability to either play defensive end or linebacker. 

"Linebacker. Defensive end. Doesn't matter. Put Gentry anywhere and there's a genuine feeling he will be able to put his tools and skillset on display. The optimism around Gentry is nearly as high as his potential, and while the future projects very well for Gentry, the building blocks will be established in 2021."

The Sun Devils rolled with Gentry at linebacker, playing him behind veterans such as Kyle Soelle, Darien Butler and Merlin Robertson within Arizona State's 4-3 defense. 

However, the Sun Devils would soon see everything Gentry presented at the high school level: An extremely athletic defender that can assist in either pass or run situations. 

Gentry finished the regular season with 40 tackles, as he was just one of seven Arizona State defensive players to finish with 40 or more. Gentry also accumulated one sack and two passes defensed. 

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Perhaps his biggest moment as a true freshman came on the road against UCLA, stopping Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter to preserve Arizona State's nine-point lead. 

Gentry stepped up when Arizona State needed him to, starting two games and gradually earning regular playing time after each game completed. 

National eyes noticed. 

On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club announced a list of 22 players that were named to their Freshman All-American list. Gentry was the only Pac-12 player to be named.

According to ASU athletics, Gentry is one of just three true freshman linebackers in the Pac-12 to play at least 250 snaps. He is the first Sun Devil to earn Freshman All-American honors since quarterback Jayden Daniels in 2019, while also becoming the second linebacker to become a Freshman All-American in the Herm Edwards era. 

With Robertson, Butler and Soelle all set to depart the program after being honored at Arizona State's senior day last weekend, Gentry is expected to become a crucial part of the Sun Devils' defense as a sophomore in 2022.