Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #10 Devin Funchess

Devin Funchess
Name: Devin Funchess
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 235 lbs.
High school: Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Position: Tight end
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #19
Last year: I ranked Funchess #53 and said he would be the backup U-back. He caught 15 passes for 234 yards (15.6 yards/catch) and 5 touchdowns.

Funchess came into his freshman season at approximately 225 lbs., and as one might expect from a tight end that size, he was bound to struggle a little bit physically. At one point this summer, he admitted to having been a "pretty boy" who didn't like to be physical. That combination of size and pretty boy-ishness kept him from some early playing time and the ability to play as an in-line blocker, but Denard Robinson liked using him as a passing target early in the year. In week two against Air Force, Funchess had 106 receiving yards and his first career touchdown. Things were going well early in the season, but Robinson's elbow injury and Devin Gardner's subsequent insertion at quarterback curtailed Funchess's production; Robinson was adept at hitting tight ends and inside receivers, whereas Gardner liked to look outside a little more. Still, his season was good enough to warrant Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and several Freshman All-American nods.

I expect Gardner to look in Funchess's direction more often this season. You can't ignore a 6'5", swift guy like Funchess for too long. He's a matchup problem for linebackers because of his speed and defensive backs because of his size. If the quarterback can put the ball in the right place, Funchess will basically be open on every single pass play. Michigan doesn't have another significant receiving threat at the position, so losing Funchess for any length of time would possibly alter the offense in a big way. Freshman Khalid Hill is a 6'2", 258 lb. option at the position, and fellow freshman Jake Butt is a big target but perhaps not quite as athletic. Senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon will almost certainly lead the team in receiving, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Funchess in second place by the end of the year.

Prediction: Starting U-back; 35 receptions, 500 yards, 6 touchdowns


  1. Can't wait to see how they use Funchess this year. On top of his speed and size, he also has terrific body control and hands. He is the most talented receiving TE I have seen at UM and should be fun to watch.

    Some of the Mgoblog guys speculated that Funchess' weight of 229 on the 2012 roster was inflated. I tend to agree with that. But he looked a legit 230+ in the spring game footage.

  2. I certainly hope he warrants all the hype, but Funchess kind of disappeared last year. I guess you're attributing that to QBs, but I think it has to do with defenses paying him respect as a receiver. If you put a DB on him, he's much easier to cover - so you need to have him punish that DB with blocking - which he couldn't do last year. Remains to be seen if he's learned.

    If he can't block well, he's just the player he was last year - a tall WR. People act like he's Calvin Johnson, but he's too slow to be an actual WR. He needs to be a TE. He needs to block people.

    If you go with the assumption that blocking is about effort and will as much as anything else, Funchess could learn. If he becomes an asset there - the sky is the limit.