Ann Arbor – The coveted Michigan No. 1 jersey returned to the playing field for the first time since 2004.
And it did so in style.
Junior receiver Devin Funchess who began his career as a tight end, was the Big Ten’s Tight End of the Year last season and was wearing the No. 87 Legends jersey honoring Ron Kramer, asked Michigan coach Brady Hoke for the No. 1 last Sunday.
It is a number at Michigan that since 1979 and Anthony Carter has been associated with the team’s top play-making receiver.
Funchess scored the Wolverines first three touchdowns, on passes from quarterback Devin Gardner, to spark Michigan in a 52-14 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
“It’s a great honor,” Funchess said of wearing the No. 1 jersey. “I’ve been working hard, and I asked coach Hoke, and he said he had to think about it. “When I got (the jersey), it gave me goosebumps a little bit.”
Funchess said he called Kramer’s son, Kurt. Funchess believes a tight end should wear Kramer’s number.
Carter, a three-time All-American, made the number popular during his career, 1979-1982. The number has only been worn by a receiver since then. Funchess is the seventh receiver to wear it and the first since Edwards, who last wore it during the 2004 season.
Because of Funchess’ size — he’s 6-foot-4, 230 pounds — he creates a mismatch problem for defenses. After his performance against Appalachian State, he was asked about drawing attention, likely in the form of double coverage.
“I kind of had that attention last year,” Funchess said. “I’m sure they’ll try different defenses on me. I number’s just a number. It just brings a bigger target to me.”
Running back Derrick Green, who had 170 yards rushing and a touchdown, said Funchess earned the No. 1 jersey.
“Spring ball, fall camp, he was grinding,” Green said. “He did his thing and definitely earned it.
The Players who have worn the No. 1 jersey at Michigan:
Angus G. Goetz
Robert Jerome Dunne
Paul G. Goebel