September 7, 2011

From the film room: Devin Funchess

In two games this season for Farmington Hills Harrison, tight end Devin Funchess has five catches for 99 yards (19.8 yards per reception) while also making a pick defensively. In this week's film evaluation, we take a look at his entire junior season and the first two games of his senior year ...

To see Funchess' play in Harrison's first game, click here, and for his second game, click here.

Our talent evaluator is a former Michigan athlete, a two-year starter, and an All-Big Ten first-team performer.

Strengths: Funchess is a gifted athlete. At 6-5, 205 pounds, he has great speed, balance, and control of his body on the football field. He also has great hands and catches anything that is thrown near him. Funchess also does a good job of gaining yards after the catch. He plays aggressive and likes contact. He does not hesitate to run the defender over or also put a move on to get up field. He does a great job of running north and south for those extra yards.

Areas of Improvement: The Michigan offense will require tight ends to run block down linemen and linebackers as well be able to pass protect. Funchess will need to improve his blocking technique to play on Saturdays in the Big Ten. He is a big and powerful player and has the tools to be an effective blocker.

It is often difficult for taller players to learn to get their pad level down to a good point of leverage. This is certainly true of the 6-5 Funchess as he initiates many of his blocks too high and leaves his hands in an off position. The positive is that he is not afraid to take a shot at a knockout block. He simply needs to work to lower his hips, gather his feet in good blocking position, and bend at the knees more when run blocking.

It stands to reason that his athletic ability and his affinity for contact will allow him to run block and pass protect more effectively.

College Projection: Tight End

Michigan Player Comparison: Tony McGee (1989-92) - McGee had exceptional athletic skills and was a great ball-catching tight end. McGee developed his blocking skills to the point where legendary Michigan line coach Jerry Hanlon demanded that McGee be in the game on short-yardage situations to secure his man ... on his back!

The Bottom Line: Funchess has all the athletic tools to be successful at Michigan. He'll need to improve his blocking abilities to see the field in a winged helmet but there should be no doubts he has the tools to block. Give Funchess a year or two in the Michigan conditioning program and watch him add weight to help his blocking skills. His balance and body control will allow him to block college linebackers and his height gives him an advantage to catch the ball over their heads.

Funchess also projects to be a great special teams player. His speed and toughness makes him a kick-blocking candidate on punts and field-goal defense. His blocking skills will develop, he will get stronger, he will get faster, he will learn to turn up his "football motor" and should be a fine tight end for Michigan.

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