The Wolverine

May 2014 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 29 of 153

BY MICHAEL SPATH O ne pass, two passes, three grazed off the fingertips of Devin Funchess, each ball thrown too far out in front or behind the junior during Michi- gan's spring game. With U-M's quarterbacks strug- gling in windy conditions, the receiv- ers were not afforded the best oppor- tunity to showcase their potential to the 15,000 gathered at The Big House April 5, making just seven grabs for 133 yards. Yet the final spring practice stood in stark contrast to five weeks of spring practices in which the receiv- ers demonstrated the ability to stretch the field, make tough catches across the middle and along the sideline, move the chains and put points on the board. Funchess took the lead, but the coaches extolled the efforts of junior Dennis Norfleet, redshirt sophomores Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, and true freshman early enrollees Freddy Canteen and Drake Harris. No single wideout should be ex- pected to replace the contributions of 2013 second-team All-Big Ten per- former Jeremy Gallon — who led Michigan in receptions (89), yards (1,373) and touchdowns (nine) — but the joint efforts of the group can fill the void. ON HIS BIG SHOULDERS In the history of Michigan football, the Wolverines have featured only a single scholarship wide receiver that stood as tall and was as heavy as the 6-5, 230-pound Funchess — the 6-8, 240-pound Paul Jokisch, who caught 58 passes for 1,088 yards from 1984-86. With his overwhelming physical stature, Funchess took advantage of mismatched cornerbacks a year ago, making 41 of his 49 grabs after transitioning from tight end to wide receiver in week five. He finished his sophomore campaign with 748 yards and six scores, and is the best hope to be U-M's No. 1 receiver in the fall. There is no guarantee Funchess OppOrtunity AWAITS Junior Devin Funchess Will Carry The Reins At Receiver While Younger Teammates Seek To Emerge

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