Devin Funchess

Michigan’s Funchess passes on post-Hoke era, declares for NFL Draft

8 Comments

The search for a new head coach is still ongoing in Ann Arbor. Now the search for a new go-to receiver will officially begin for the Michigan Wolverines as well. Devin Funchess has announced he will pass on his final year of eligibility at Michigan and enter the NFL Draft in 2015.

“I would like to thank my family, coaches and teammates for their support,” said Funchess in a statement released by Michigan on Tuesday. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, and I am prepared to take the next step in my journey.”

Funchess led the Wolverines with 733 receiving yards on 62 receptions in 2014. He accounted for four touchdowns after moving from tight end to wide receiver for Michigan. The Wolverines were in need of help at receiver this season, and Funchess brought good size and hands to the position after serving as a tight end for the Wolverines prior to this year. In 2013, Funchess was Michigan’s second-leading receiver with 748 yards and six touchdowns. He served as a high-caliber compliment to Michigan’s leading receiver, Jeremy Gallon in 2013.

So, will Funchess pursue a career in the NFL as a wide receiver or a tight end? Odds are Funchess will be scouted and drafted as a wide receiver, and he should be expected to go in the first two rounds to a team in need of help catching the football.

Big Ten announces all-conference teams, individual award winners

11 Comments

The Big Ten championship is five days away, which means it’s time for Jim Delany‘s league to announce its all-conference teams and its bevy of individual awards.

Since the conference’s list of awards winners is longer than an Iowa touchdown drive, let’s get right to it:

– Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

– Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year: Tony Lippett, Michigan State

– Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

– Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Maxx Williams, Minnesota

– Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: Brandon Scherff, Iowa

– Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Joey Bosa, Ohio State

– Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Mike Hull, Penn State

– Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

– Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Brad Craddock, Maryland

– Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Peter Mortell, Minnesota

The conference will announce its offensive, defensive, coach and freshman of the year awards at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday on BTN.

The conference also announced its coaches’ and media first and second teams.

First Team Offense (Coaches)
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State
WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Jack Allen, Michigan State
G Pat Elflein, Ohio State
G Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin
T Brandon Scherff, Iowa
T Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
K Brad Craddock, Maryland

Second Team Offense (Coaches)
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
RB David Cobb, Minnesota
RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland
WR Devin Funchess, Michigan
TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
C Austin Blythe, Iowa
G Travis Jackson, Michigan State
G Zac Epping, Minnesota
T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
T Taylor Decker, Ohio State
K Sam Ficken, Penn State

First Team Defense (Coaches)
DL Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DL Randy Gregory, Nebraska
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL Anthony Zettel, Penn State
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
LB Mike Hull, Penn State
LB Derek Landisch, Wisconsin
DB William Likely, Maryland
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
DB Doran Grant, Ohio State
P Peter Mortell, Minnesota

Second Team Defense (Coaches)
DL Carl Davis, Iowa
DL Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa
DL Maliek Collins, Michigan State
DL Michael Bennett, Ohio State
LB Quinton Alston, Iowa
LB Taiwan Jones, Michigan State
LB Damien Wilson, Minnesota
DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota
DB Eric Murray, Minnesota
DB Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
DB Frankie Williams, Purdue
DB Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
DB Darius Hillary, Wisconsin
P Justin DuVernois, Illinois

First Team Offense (Media)
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State
WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Jack Allen, Michigan State
G Zac Epping, Minnesota
G Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin
T Brandon Scherff, Iowa
T Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
K Brad Craddock, Maryland

Second Team Offense (Media)
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
RB David Cobb, Minnesota
RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
WR Mikey Dudek, Illinois
WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
G Travis Jackson, Michigan State
G Pat Elflein, Ohio State
T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
T Taylor Decker, Ohio State
K Sam Ficken, Penn State

First Team Defense (Media)
DL Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DL Randy Gregory, Nebraska
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL Anthony Zettel, Penn State
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
LB Damien Wilson, Minnesota
LB Mike Hull, Penn State
DB William Likely, Maryland
DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
P Peter Mortell, Minnesota

Second Team Defense (Media)
DL Carl Davis, Iowa
DL Drew Ott, Iowa
DL Andre Monroe, Maryland
DL Michael Bennett, Ohio State
LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
LB Derek Landisch, Wisconsin
DB Nate Gerry, Nebraska
DB Nick Van Hoose, Northwestern
DB Dorian Grant, Ohio State
DB Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
DB Justin DuVernois, Illinois

Devin Gardner contributes to both teams as Penn State leads Michigan 13-10

5 Comments

Plenty of attention has been placed on Michigan’s quarterback position in recent weeks. Senior Devin Gardner is now entrenched as the Wolverines’ starting quarterback. The good and bad Gardner showed up against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Michigan trails Penn State 13-10 at halftime, but Gardner was a big part of both team’s success.

The embattled signal-caller started the game by showing some accuracy and efficient play. The senior finished the half 11-of-13 passing. Gardner’s 43-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Devin Funchess was the game’s top highlight through two quarters.

However, one of Gardner’s two incomplete passes was actually an interception thrown directly to Penn State defensive lineman Anthony Zettel.

Four plays later, Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg found wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton open in the end zone for the Nittany Lions’ only touchdown.

Hackenberg also pieced together a strong first-half performance. The sophomore signal-caller was 11-of-15 passing for 94 yards and the aforementioned touchdown pass. Hamilton, meanwhile, caught six passes for 61 yards.

As the teams prepare for the second half, Michigan needs to help Gardner by establishing a running game. The Wolverines only managed four yards on 11 carries. Gardner has previously shown he can’t be relied upon as the team’s only offensive threat. By running the football effectively, the Wolverines’ passing game will become even more potent with Funchess and Amara Darboh winning one-on-one battles on the outside.

Penn State, on the other hand, should make adjustments with their pass protection in an attempt to keep Hackenberg upright after Michigan’s defense hit the quarterback multiple times.

Brady Hoke’s stubborness getting in the way at Michigan

44 Comments

As Michigan was limping to the end of a dismal evening on the road in South BendBrady Hoke could have easily given some of his key players a rest with the game well in hand. He did not. Instead, Hoke sent out starting quarterback Devin Gardner and starting wide receiver Devin Funchess in the final minutes of a 31-0 blowout to finish off the game. Funchess was even put back into the game shortly after having to be helped off the field and not placing any weight on his ankle (he shook it off and seemed to be moving OK after getting to the sideline). But why would Hoke leave his starters in a no-win situation?

“He’s our quarterback,” Hoke said when asked about keeping Gardner in until the end of the game according to MLive.com. “Unless he somehow doesn’t come to work every day, doesn’t come to learn, all those things, (then) he’s our quarterback and we wanted to put points on the board.”

The same logic could be applied to Funchess and other starters as well. Gardner did not have a good night, which is somewhat obvious with a 31-0 score. Gardner completed 19 of his 32 pass attempts for 189 yards. He was intercepted three times. Funchess was on the receiving end of nine of Gardner’s passes, picking up 107 yards.

Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but maybe Hoke should have used that fourth quarter to give some other players a chance to put points on the scoreboard. The calls for a quarterback change may start to get a little louder with some clamoring for Shane Morris to get a chance under center just for the sake of seeing something different. Nobody would have given Hoke or any other player any extra grief for a change on the field, not when the score is 28-0 or 31-0. Hoke let his stubbornness get in the way. Would Michigan have felt that much better about their team had they scored three or seven points with Gardner leading the offense? Would there really be enough good to come out of that in the long run? There is no place for moral victories at this level.

The pressure is on Hoke to prove he is capable of leading Michigan to big wins. He has not done so since his first year on the job. In this day and age, that can cost a coach a job.

Golson outdueling Gardner, and Notre Dame leads Michigan at the half

11 Comments

Football usually isn’t simple enough to boil a game down into any one player versus another player, especially when those players are never on the field at the same time. Given that, it was hard to envision Michigan walking into Notre Dame Stadium and beating the Irish without Devin Gardner playing better than Everett Golson.

Golson has been better than Gardner – significantly – and thus No. 16 Notre Dame leads Michigan 21-0 at the half.

Golson hasn’t been terrible, completing 9-of-15 throws for 80 yards with no turnovers. He’s certainly been worse. But Golson has been sensational, throwing accurately inside and outside the pocket and generally looking like someone who spent his year away from football doing something other than eating Cheetos and getting caught up on “Dexter.” He’s hit 16-of-21 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers, and looked every bit as good as his numbers.

Devin Funchess has been good for Michigan and looked worthy of his No. 1 jersey with three receptions for 41 yards, but he’ll have to double those numbers in the second half to get the Wolverines back into this thing.

Michigan moved the ball well on its first two drives, totaling 92 yards on 18 plays, but both ended in missed Matt Wile field goals. It appeared the new Notre Dame Stadium FieldTurf played a role in both misses. The Wolverines moved the ball only 39 yards in 13 plays over the rest of the half.

Michigan gets the ball to open the second half.