Quintel Kent says he didn’t focus on any one aspect of his game this offseason, choosing instead to work on everything from route-running to timing.
But it’s clear that the Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward receiver and Michigan commit is much improved when it comes to one particular trait: speed.
“Top-line speed is something that, as Harbaugh would call, is an ascending trait for him,” said 247Sports recruiting analyst Steve Lorenz.
Kent committed to Michigan on Aug. 4 as a mostly unknown prospect in the 2019 class. Despite playing for a traditional powerhouse — St. Edward opened the season No. 2 on Cleveland.com’s prep preseason top-25 list — Kent didn’t garner much attention from college coaches or recruiting services. As the No. 1,669 recruit in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite, Kent is the lowest-ranked commit in Michigan’s 13th-ranked recruiting class.
Kent already has begun changing any perceptions of him as a prospect, thanks to a hot start to his senior season. In the season opener against Mentor, the state’s top-ranked team, Kent caught seven passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He had one touchdown called back, made a tough over the shoulder catch and also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone, according to 247Sports recruiting analyst Bill Greene.
“I really didn’t (think he was a Michigan-caliber recruit). I had him as a pretty solid MAC kid. That’s where his offers were, and that’s what I thought he would end up going,” Greene said. “When I saw that Michigan offered him, that was just a real surprise to me. I thought that it was kind of a reach. When I saw him the other day, I was like, nope, he’s not the same kid. He’s a totally different player right now.”
Kent says he didn’t have any scholarship offers entering the winter. But thanks to his improvement, he caught the attention of several coaching staffs after a standout performance at the Chicagoland Showcase, a camp hosted by the Northwestern coaching staff with “over 100” other college staffs present. He received a few offers there, and then several more in the aftermath.
The camp was where Michigan graduate assistant Roy Roundtree saw Kent. Impressed, Roundtree invited Kent to Michigan’s camp, where Kent was named the MVP of the receivers.
“I think he really surprised them and caught them off guard with the speed aspect of his game,” Lorenz said of Kent’s camp performance at Michigan.
At that point, Kent could tell U-M’s interest in him was sincere.
“They weren’t really hinting anything toward an offer, but they seemed really excited about me,” Kent said. “I won the MVP down there at the camp for receivers, and just from their body language and the way they were acting, I thought maybe it could come. But I never knew.”
The offer came after Kent returned to campus for a visit. He and his mom fell in love with the campus, and his mom also bonded with the coaches. A commitment to Michigan was all but sealed up, and it came in August.
Kent said he hasn’t had an in-depth discussion about his future position at Michigan, but he thinks he’ll most likely play slot receiver. Greene, though, believes Kent has become a more explosive player who could also play on the outside. As a talented kick returner, he’ll have a chance to be a factor on special teams, too.
“He’s a lot quicker. He’s a lot stronger. His hands are better. He’s just more dynamic of a player,” Greene said. “I don’t know that he would’ve been able to light up a program like Mentor last year. Well, he lit them up the other night.”
For now, Kent is focused on his senior season. St. Edward is hosting Detroit Cass Tech this week, which means Kent will have another opportunity to play a team with a significant amount of Division I-level talent. And if his early performance against Mentor is truly indicative of Kent’s improvement between his junior and senior year, it won’t be a surprise if he has a big game against the Technicians.
“I know we say this every cycle with the lower-ranked guys,” Lorenz said, “but if Week 1 is any indication, I think he’s in for a big senior year, and I know Bill already alluded that (Kent’s) going to see a pretty significant rise in the rankings.”