Not quite dropping his middle name on Tuesday, Brady Hoke gave Funchess a little scare when he pulled him aside to let him know he was selected to honor Michigan legend Ron Kramer by wearing his No. 87 for the remainder of his career.
“At first, he came in our meeting room and he yelled my name like, ‘Funchess, I need you!’” Funchess said. “Like I did something bad. And then he came and said I’m not in trouble so a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Funchess, named to the Football Writers Association of America Freshmen All-American team in 2012 after catching five touchdown passes, was blindsided by the honor.
“I was kind of surprised,” he said. “It was just, it was a shock.”
Kramer was a two-time consensus All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection during his time in Ann Arbor, playing both ways for the Wolverines as well as competing in basketball and track during the off-season.
Funchess, who says he’ll stick to football and tight end exclusively, had the opportunity to do some of his own research on Kramer as well.
“He was a phenomenal athlete here,” Funchess said. “He played three sports, lettered, and had nine letters. He did everything for the football team -- offense, defense, running back, quarterback, defensive end, tight end -- he just did it all. A phenomenal athlete.”
Known for his own exploits as an athlete and now standing 6-foot-5, 235-pounds, Funchess has been turning heads in fall camp, leading many to believe he’s primed for a breakout season in 2013.
With the loss of Amara Darboh at outside receiver, Funchess wouldn’t say whether or not he’s spent added time split out wide in practice, but either way will be counted on to have a significant role in the Wolverines passing attack in 2013.
“With the run game and then the pass game, I just believe we’re (tight ends) going to be out there having more of a role this year,” he said.
Ready for Central Michigan to make it to Ann Arbor, Funchess is just ready to play against new competition after a long, physical fall camp.
“Very excited,” he said. “Just counting down. Four more days until Saturday.”
To watch video of Funchess from Tuesday, press play below.