Top players to watch this spring: No. 3

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
11:00
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Spring ball starts on Feb. 25, and until then we’re taking looks at different players, position groups and parts of the team to keep an eye on as the Wolverines wind through their month of spring practices. We hit the midway point of our countdown today with No. 3.

[+] EnlargeDevin Funches
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsDevin Funchess showed big-play ability for Michigan in 2013, but the Wolverines are hoping he'll make the leap this spring and be a more complete player.
No. 3: Devin Funchess
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 235 pounds
2013 stats: 13 games, 9 starts, 748 yards, 6 touchdowns

The Wolverines receiving corps is a huge question mark at this point. From Amara Darboh returning from a foot injury to Jake Butt possibly making a return midway through next season from a torn ACL, to a crop of young freshmen trying to take the next step in contributing, there are a lot of question marks. The closest thing Michigan has to a sure thing next season is Funchess.

His development was going to be of huge importance coming into this spring considering the departure of leading receiver Jeremy Gallon. There were definitely big shoes (and yards and touchdowns) to be filled. But now, with Butt’s ACL tear, he’s going to need to contribute that much more.

With the change in offensive coordinator, Funchess will need to use the spring to learn Doug Nussmeier’s playbook. The more he can learn and get under his belt during this spring, the less he’ll need to do this fall and the more he’ll just be able to help the offense grow.

He’ll also use this spring to gain more chemistry with Devin Gardner and Shane Morris, as he’ll probably be the biggest target the Wolverines have next season. He grew accustomed to tighter coverage the more he established himself in 2013, but he needs to get tougher in the blocking game and work on not dropping as many balls.

Funchess is likely going to be the name and player on this list whose abilities are the most well-known to the Michigan fanbase, but because of circumstances, coaching changes and his own personal growth, he needs to make this spring count. The more he can grow now, the better the offense will be able to function next fall.

The countdown:

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