Devin Funchess: Michigan Will Make Playoff In 2018

Funchess believes the Wolverines have the talent and experience to break through in Jim Harbaugh's fourth season

Tiki and Tierney
March 08, 2018 - 6:22 pm

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Jim Harbaugh is 28-11 in three seasons at Michigan and is coming off a disappointing 8-5 year. But that didn’t stop former Wolverine and current Carolina Panther Devin Funchess from making a bold declaration on CBS Sports Radio on Thursday.

“Me personally, I think they’re going to go to the playoffs this year,” the 23-year-old wide receiver said on Tiki and Tierney.

Funchess, a Michigan native, did not play for Harbaugh. In fact, he declared for the NFL Draft a couple of weeks before Harbaugh was named head coach.

Harbaugh went 10-3 in each of his first two seasons but is just 1-5 against Ohio State and Michigan State.

What’s going on?

“Everybody always asks me what’s going on with this,” Funchess said. “But you got to look at last year: they probably only had four seniors on the whole team. I went up there a couple days, and seeing those young guys, I think they’re ready. They got a new strength staff up there. They’re getting those guy together. This is the year that I know that the Wolverines are going to take off.”

Their schedule won’t do them any favors, though. Michigan opens the season at Notre Dame on Sept. 1. The Wolverines play Michigan State (Oct. 20) and Ohio State (Nov. 24) on the road as well.

If Harbaugh doesn’t win the Big Ten this year, will fans start to get impatient?

“There’s impatience with everybody,” Funchess said. “If you get put in a position like that with a blue blood school . . . people are just going to have to wait and see. Just like with everything else in life, you’re going to have to wait and see. You can’t rush the process.”

As for the Panthers, Funchess – who had 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns last year – is excited for the upcoming season. He doesn’t anticipate many changes under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

“It’s just a new name. That’s it,” Funchess said. “We kind of ran the same type of offense that Norv had, so I think we’re just going to change the names of some plays – just from my understanding. I haven’t talked to him just because of the rules.”

Players aren’t allowed to talk to coaches until April 16.

As for the running backs, the Panthers released veteran Jonathan Stewart last week. Can Christian McCaffrey be the lead back in Carolina?

“Christian, me and him got a tight little relationship,” Funchess said. “I treat him like a little brother. He’s a workhorse. That’s type of guy you want on your team, a workhorse. Yeah, I think he can (be the lead back). He’s got the spunk, and he’s fast to be that guy. We got some help in the running-back room with him, too. Who knows what they’re going to do in free agency and all that type of stuff, but we already have help in that RB room just in case the workload is getting too much for him.”

McCaffrey rushed 117 times for 435 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns last season. He also had 80 catches – third-most among running backs – for 651 yards and five touchdowns.

Carolina, which finished 11-5 last year, will be seeking its fifth playoff appearance in six years.

Said Funchess, “I’m really excited to get back.”