There’s something to be said about freshman debuts. Sometimes, they’re downright brutal. Other times though, they make the future seem a little bit brighter. Such was the case for true Freshman Devin Funchess against Air Force. The 6’5″, 229lb TE from Farmington Hills posted 106 receiving yards and a touchdown, outshining Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon by averaging 26 yards. In fact, Funchess posted the best receiving day for a Michigan tight end since 1997.
Does anyone else remember what happened in 1997? Oh yeah, it had a little something to do with roses. There were 31 members of the ’97 team who went on to play in the NFL. Do I think that this team is going to win the Big-Ten Championship this year, or better? Probably not. But do I think that Brady Hoke is recruiting the “old school” way to produce professional-worthy players? Yes. Starting with players like Funchess.
His senior year Funchess had 21 receptions for 452 yards and 5 TD’s. He was a three-star recruit on Rivals.com and was listed at 14 for tight ends nationally. The main thing about Funchess is that he’s going to get bigger. So far he’s displayed excellent body control, has long arms, and big hands. Which is exactly what we need. He’s going to be a tough match against smaller defenders and will be a critical weapon in the end zone.
Going into ND week I think that Funchess will get a fair amount of playing time. He needs to create separation against his defenders and be disciplined in running his routes in order to get his timing right with Denard. This week will be a great test for him against a stronger defense that he will certainly see later in the season against other Big Ten teams. It’s time to sit back and watch him shine.