Michigan Player Spotlight: Devin Funchess

posted October 9, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Rittle

Michigan will look to turn around their season this Saturday, when Penn State travels to Ann Arbor. If Michigan is going to win, they will need a solid game from one of the most dynamic offensive players in the country, despite having one of the worst passing offenses in college football.

Michigan’s Devin Funchess is a physical specimen. Funchess (6’5, 230), is in his first full season as a wide receiver. Funchess came to Michigan as a tight end, but with Doug Nussmeier as the new offensive coordinator, he has smoothly made the transition to receiver. He is the leading receiver for the Wolverines, with 29 receptions for 392 yards and three touchdowns.

Funchess, a Michigan native, won the Division Two state championship his junior year at Harrison High School. Rated as a four star tight end, Funchess committed to Michigan over the likes of Michigan State, Nebraska and Missouri.

Funchess made an impact from the day he stepped onto Michigan’s campus. As a true freshman, he had 15 receptions for 234 yards and five touchdowns.  He received accolades abound, including All-Big Ten honorable mention (media), ESPN.com All-Big Ten Freshman Team, Phil Steele's Postseason All-Freshman Team and BTN.com All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

As a freshman, Funchess wore the number 19. Before his sophomore season began he received the honor of wearing number 87, to honor the former great Michigan tight end, Ron Kramer. Funchess did not disappoint, as he had a record breaking year.

Funchess racked up 748 yards receiving in his sophomore campaign, which broke the Michigan single-season receiving record for a tight end. He also added six touchdowns on the season, ranking second on the team in both categories. He again was rewarded for his strong play, by being named to the All-Big Ten first team by the media.

Funchess started the 2014 with yet a new number. He switched his number to legendary number 1. Michigan has previously used the number 1 to signify its top receiver. The last receiver to wear the illustrious number was first round pick Braylon Edwards. Funchess decided to switch to number 1 because he wanted to reserve the number 87 for tight ends.

Funchess opened the season against Appalachian State with three touchdowns, a Michigan record for season openers. Since then, Funchess has been nursing a leg injury, which caused him to miss a game and parts of others.

Last year against Penn State, Funchess registered four receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He will have to be a difference maker for Michigan if they want to avoid their fifth loss on the season.

Penn State takes on Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. on ComRadio.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Zach Rittle is a senior broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email him at zar5038@psu.edu