Before Michigan kicks off the season with Central Michigan later today, let’s look at some young players who can have a big first day.
- Devin Funchess: The sophomore tight end showed some flashes of big time talent last season as a freshman. He had 8 catches and two TDs in his first three games last year. However, Funchess then fell off the map, catching just 7 balls the remainder of the season. It is common for freshmen to make a big splash and then disappear. But now in his second year, Funchess can be a huge part of Michigan’s offense. At 6’5″ and 228 pounds, Funchess has the body to be a terror in the red zone. Few linebackers will be able to deal with that type of size and defensive backs just don’t stand a chance. If he and Devin Gardner can form a connection, Funchess can be one of the most dangerous tight ends in the Big Ten. Would 10 TDs be too much to ask for? Maybe not. Especially when you consider the fact that Michigan doesn’t have many big targets in their receiving core, particularly after the loss of big wideout Amara Darboh. Funchess has huge potential and Michigan has a huge need for a big target. Watch for Funchess to break out in 2013 and even in the opener against Central.
- Taco Charlton: Charlton is a freshman defensive end that Michigan fans should get to know. Of all of Michigan’s fifth ranked nationally freshman class, Charlton has the highest upside of any defensive player, if not the whole group. Like Funchess, Charlton has the type of body that will let him dominate. He stands 6’6″ tall and and a muscular 270 pounds. He is athletic and that should allow him to get good playing time early on, even if he lacks any experience. Look for him to get some playing time early and if he can find some success, his role and playing time will only grow.
- Finally, the entire offensive line should be a point of interest today. Anchored by two senior tacles, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, there isn’t much experience after that. The interior of the line consists of sophomores Jack Miller at center and Graham Glasgow at left guard and redshirted freshman Kyle Kalis at right guard. Michigan wants to be able to run the ball downhill and that is all dependent on the young interior being able to get a good push. Lewan and Schofield might be Gardner’s best friends with their pass protection, but with so much inexperience inside, the offensive line has to be a question mark right now.
Watch for these young players and many more today at 3:30 eastern, when Michigan opens up the 2013 campaign against Central Michigan.
You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter @alexdaleCFB