Devin Funchess will be key to Michigan Wolverines offense

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Poppa Doc will get legitimate street cred before Michigan fans feel secure in their offense again. Yes, for this Devin Funchess /  Wolverines feature, I made a couple “8 Mile” references. Just warning you now, as you lose yourself in the moment reading about a Detroit team.

Funchess moves to wide receiver in 2014 after appearing in the first 26 games of his career at tight end. Last season he was named the Big Ten Tight End of the Year and he’ll have to carry the load for the O this year. More importantly, he’s a guy that belongs in your NFL mock draft. At least he belongs in mine.

And I am one of those people who talks about NFL mock drafts in August. I know I know for some of you reading that makes you want to pull a Cheddah Bob and shoot yourself. Kind of like how you feel on the commute to Michigan Stadium.


Seriously, the parking/traffic situation around The Big House is to the college football atmosphere what Jimmy B. Rabbit Smith’s New Detroit Stamping romp with Brittany Murphy is to love scenes in cinema.

This is a major rebuilding year for the Michigan offense. The offensive line as a whole was terrible last year; and it loses both tackles (Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield) who both went within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. I guess that tells you how awful the interior of line the was. Even with NFL talent around them they were still bad.


No wonder Offensive Coordinator Al Borges lost his job. He was arguably the most overpaid coach in college football. I’m sure his replacement, Doug Nussmeier from Alabama will be an upgrade. It won’t get worse even though

1.) it’s only the interior of the line that is coming back and

2.) the graduation of Fitzgerald Toussaint means the tailback situation is very unsettled.


But they have the Devins. QB Devin Gardner is really really good and he comes back. And he’s got Devin Funchess to throw to. Who will not split time between tight end and receiver, it will be WR all the time. No putting his hand on the ground.

“Right now it’s 100% wide receiver, all the time outside,” said Funchess.

Last year he had 49 catches for 748 yards and six touchdowns. His receiving yards were the highest single-season total by a U-M tight end in program history. In his career, Funchess has 64 receptions for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns. He enters the 2014 season having caught at least one pass in 14 straight games.

“I told him you’re just one of the hardest receivers I’ve ever had to cover. He’s just got those long strides, and he can stop on a dime, one of the best players I ever went against,” said Michigan Linebacker Jake Ryan, who goes against him everyday in practice.


“He’s a big, fast guy, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field,” said Michigan QB Devin Gardner. Hopes are very high for Gardner, and if he is to live up to that hype, Gardner definitely needs a lot of Devin Funchess in his life. For Michigan fans, it’s got to be “Devin sent” this season.

“When you got somebody who’s 6-6, 6-5 and run the 40 in 4.3, and he’s 235, what more can you ask for from a player? You can’t ask for more than that,” said Michigan DL Frank Clark.

Funchess says the 4.3 40-yard-dash he ran was in the spring.


“I’ve been looking at Calvin Johnson, DeAndre Johnson and A.J. Green, with the athletic ability and body control, I like them,” Funchess said when I asked him if there are any NFL wide receivers he models his game on.

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports and Yahoo! He’s been a guest on news talk shows all across the world. He’s also a special contributor to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. Banks has been featured in numerous media outlets including, Forbes, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, ESPNNBCCBS, the History Channel and more. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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